This is the first of two reflections on how journalists and bloggers can learn from each other when developing their respective writing styles. Check out part two here.
When I selected print journalism as my major at Radford University in Virginia, I didn’t really know what I was getting into.
I knew I wanted to become a writer. I did not know, however, that I would spend the next 10 years out of college beating the pavement, writing thousands of stories about individuals, companies, and organizations. For a time, I also wrote about natural disasters for the national headquarters of the American Red Cross.
So a blog post for Social Media Club took me way outside my comfort zone. It was a post about me, and in my objective, personal-life-is-off-limits style, I found this exercise incredibly stressful.
Here’s the post: Why It Is Hard Blogging About Myself (Or, Finding the “Me” In The Story).
Now, let me be clear. It’s not difficult sharing bits about me. I do it often in the blog profiles I write for Beyond Bylines.
The stress stems from changing my voice.
I’d like to think that my writing and speaking voices are the same, and at times they are. But, I’m a longtime business journalist. My go-to writing style is straightforward and just the facts. I prefer to report the story.
So my media relations colleague, Amanda Hicken, and I decided to explore what it means to honor your true voice: Me with my journalism background; she a blogger with her own site.
That Line Between Journalism and Blogging
Each writing style comes with its own perfectly valid voice.
You may even argue one is more “real” over the other. (We’ll not even go near the argument that bloggers aren’t journalists or journalists can’t be good bloggers. Incidentally, I’m raising my hand. It is, in fact, possible.)
Here’s the key: Switching from journalism writing to blogging requires a wee overhaul of the writing psyche. Different rules apply as you transition to a more personal writing landscape.
I believe journalists can expand their writing by keeping in mind some blogging best practices – keep it real, honor your actual voice, engage with readers, and write for your audience.
It’s not that journalists don’t already do those things. But when you report a story, you believe your reader is anyone.
Blog followers read specifically for content; they’re looking for something. As a blogger, you are your own editor, and it’s your job to produce that piece.
Christine Cube is a media relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. She’s still warming up to the idea of writing about herself. Follow her @cpcube.