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On the blog/work relationship

I’ve been talking to one of our editors about blogs lately. It started because he asked if I read any blogs, which led to, “Well, how do you find them?”

I explained RSS feeds and how to find one or two blogs you like, and check out who they’re linking to or what they’re posting. Chances are, if you find a blog you like they’re looking at other blogs or sites you might like. Pretty soon you’ll be swimming in too many feeds to keep up on. (I am terribly behind in my feed-reading after not having the net and then going home for a family reunion.)

Yesterday, we started talking about the why of keeping a blog. For me, a big part is the people I “meet” or I guess the better term is interact with. I’m exposed to awesome projects and ideas on a daily basis by some of the industry thought leaders and several others who are, like me, toiling away doing the daily work and sharing their knowledge and experiences. I love watching how it all comes together. I love watching how one idea gets picked up, discussed and debated. How it bounces across my corner of the blogosphere until I myself feel compelled to weigh in and come to terms with my own, now much more informed, opinion.

He mentioned that a few years ago they had several interns who were keeping blogs and being very candid about their work experience, saying things like “I can’t believe So & So did that to my story,” and so forth. Apparently, everyone in the newsroom was reading the blogs and the interns had no idea until about a month in. Oops.

That’s why I was upfront and honest from day one. I told my editors about the blog before they hired me and after I was hired, I reiterated it. I have never sought to hide it, nor felt a reason or need to do so. But then, I’m not blogging about how horrible the people on my beat or in my newsroom are. (For the record, they aren’t horrible. I consider myself amazingly fortunate to have landed here.)

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve given a lot of thought to what blogs role is, and I decided that I can best serve others by just relaying my experience and opinions for what they are. As with all new endeavors, I’ve shifted since I started. I try to focus on experiences that I think will help others understand what it’s like to be a brand new reporter starting out in this shifting world. It’s a snapshot of what it’s like to learn by the seat of your pants in an industry that’s making it up as they go along. I hope that I’m able to pass along some of the excitement I have at the opportunity to do that to others who stumble on this site.

I’ve had people ask me what my bosses think about this site. Truth is, I really don’t think they care. I think they like having a tech-savvy reporter who actually cares enough about her craft to keep a blog about it. But do I worry about my co-workers stumbling on my blog. Uh, no. One of them inevitably brings it up almost daily, though I don’t think any of them reads it regularly. Do I worry about my bosses reading too much into my posts? Again, I don’t think they read it regularly, and even if they did, they’re pretty down-to-earth, and I would feel more than comfortable sitting down with any of them to explain where I was coming from in any post they took out of context. Do I worry about my sources finding it? Not really because they’d almost surely be bored beyond belief with all the journalism minutiae.

Yes, there are times where I’d like to rant that I’d rather stick a needle in my eye than write one more charticle. But even when I do get the urge to rant about something unfair in the README memo or about a something that really upset me, I don’t. I count to 10 and ask if I’d really want my boss or source to stumble on that. Would I want my future boss to read that? I guess I self-censor myself. Nobody else says what I can or can’t say. And I think that’s the best kind of relationship between this blog and work.

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