Monday, September 27, 2010

Bloggers - You Just Can't Write

Loathe as I am to give Kimberley Seals Allers any more publicity, I feel I must draw your attention to her recent rant against bloggers. If it weren't so downright petty and ridiculous, it would have made my blood boil. Anyway, in typical EPM fashion, I responded to her in a post over at PowderRoomGraffiti.
Basically she's saying that because she has a degree and a Masters in journalism, she's not only a superior writer but other people (ie. bloggers) aren't, and shouldn't be clogging up the ether. Go have a read and then let me know what you think. Perhaps, with our well-written, measured responses, we can shame her into a retraction. Or not.


  1. Nothing like an inflated sense of importance. I actually loved reading that - hilarious!

    My husband is a journalist and an infinitely better writer than me. But he encourages me to write my blog purely because I enjoy it - it's fun. And why not?

    So does she think only Olympic athletes can enjoy a run? Only barristers can debate? Only surgeons can operate? (Oh hang on a sec...)

    Puh-lease. She needs to get over herself. But maybe not anytime soon as it's so amusing for the rest of us.

  2. Here's my poetic response: Whatever!

  3. She's just plain wrong.
    And I say that as someone who has worked as a professional journalist AND has a postgraduate journalism qualification.

    Frankly, some of the bloggers I read are far better writers than some of the journalists I have worked with. Yes, of course if you are working in a newsroom (or on a news magazine, which I did) then some formal training is helpful - particularly so that you don't commit libel! But not everyone comes to the job with it - many (in the UK at least) learn on the job and many have not studied journalism academically. And, ability to write is only one of many skills that you need as a journalist - some of the best reporters are not necessarily good writers. So, to say that bloggers can't write because they haven't had formal training is rubbish.

    Yes, journalism is a profession but it is NOT the same as say medicine (my husband's profession) where you are not allowed to practice unless you have passed the relevant qualifications. Slagging off bloggers' writing is just plain unhelpful - and I can only think that she did it to get attention....

  4. I'm a professional journalist with a degree in journalism and years of experience in journalism in various fields, but I think we can all agree that blogging is not journalism. There's a growing fine line and overlap between online media and journalism, but those of us using our blogs to express our personal interests and thoughts should definitely not be attacked for doing so. People with no training who somehow get a popular blog and use it to spread "news" is something different, though. No doubt, journalists might have finer writing skills but that's not true in all cases and shouldn't be a pre-requisite for someone to blog.

  5. It's a free country after all and I'm feeling free to throw rotten tomatoes and fruit, I'm sure I can find something handy to hurl somewhere out here in the sticks!

  6. So us bloggers shouldn't blog anymore cause we suck at writing?!! Ummm NOT! Sounds like she is just trying to be controversial to get attention cause she isn't a good enough writer to get attention solely on her writing.

  7. Hmm, colour me cynical, but I think it's a post written solely to be "controversial" and to heap 15 minutes of attention on her.

    Still if you stumble over this Kimberly, and assuming what you've written is sincere, then you need to know this is a terrible piece of journalism in which to make your case. With an article like this where you're using real journalists and real writers interchangably (sloppy, sloppy), you're probably best advised not to reference Maya Angelou. Does she have an MA in journalism? No. Is she a real writer? Of course. So let's stop this ridiculous notion that journalists are going to have a greater writing stylle and sense of craft than everyone else - particularly when the finest example of journalistic essays in the last ten years came from the pen of David Foster Wallace, a non-journalist. This is, of course, merely my opinion that Foster Wallace wrote the best essays of the last decade, but I do have an MA in English literature and you don't, so you're not really in a position to comment on the literary qualites of a piece of writing. Please have some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

    Also, bringing up blogger Andrew Breibart and painting him as some nameless, small-time blogger rather than someone who has the ear of Fox News and has written for numerous papers is darn right decitful on your part. Sherrod's resignation came about(as you well know) only after the story was taken up by news agencies staffed by "real" journalists. Sherrod had to resign becuase "real" journalist with real MAs (incidentally, according to your rules Bob Woodward and Paul Foot, the two finest investigative journalists from the last 50 years on both side of the pond wouldn't be classed as "real" journalists) did not do their fact-checking. Sherrod resigned because of News Corp (an organization you've worked for) made an issue out of Breibart's tape and did not ask the neccessary questions that I, as a member of the public, expect of "real" journalists. Really, you argue your case for journalists by bringing up an example that shows one of the biggest own goals the profession had? I'm so glad you didn't study for a law degree.

  8. What a cheek! Pride comes before a fall and that is where she is heading!
    Feel like throwing a few rotten tomatoes too!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  9. well freedom of speech is all...however we can also criticise without fear...l hope

    being provocative is apparently key to many a journo's 'success' these days instead or RESPECT, integrity and empathy in a piece. Sadly lacking in her incorrectly punctuated piece.

    One has to earn respect l know, but she misses the point in the core and ethos of many bloggers purpose...not always looking for a higher writing power, often it is sufficient to make a connection, be heard, befriended and part of a greater movement.

    I'm sad for her that she is so full of herself and glad for her that she doesn't realise the breadth and need of blogland for many...if she has'nt walked a mile in anyone else's shoes her life must be very precious ...

    thanks for bring this to our attention..
    and l dont apologise for typos etc...

    it is what it is

    saz x

  10. As CD said above (I dont think I can spell it, Im useless as a writer...) I have a feeling this is just a touch of Liz Jones going on here--controversial writing that will stir up a bunch of people who write stuff on the net every day and who will swiftly and effectively spread my name around the world thus increasing my bargaining power with my editor in one fell swoop. Like Liz Jones, she will not endear herself to anyone but the accountants, but at least she achieved what she set out to do: increase her readership.

    Aha! Maybe thats what we should all be doing so we get more followers! Write inaccurately, mean things about other bloggers.

    No, I didn't think so. I like to be liked too much. Softie, I know.

    PS you DO like to wade in on an argument don't you?! It's because you're a Geordie, I'll bet ;)

  11. Have just e-mailed her, asking her to pop over and answer her critics.

    Dear Ms. Allers,
    In the interests of fair and balanced disucssion, I invite you to pop over to my blog and answer the bloggers who, I'm sure you'll agree, rationally discussed your illogical and childish rant of last week.
    Thank you,
    Expat Mum

  12. I laughed right out loud at her diatribe. Honestly - the woman needs to relax and focus on her own writing instead of attacking everyone else. And if you have a blog, maintain it, have followers and enjoy it - YOU'RE A WRITER. Not everyone wants to conquer the world so be and let be. It's not a competition.

  13. Just read Ms Aller's humourless, self important and (most criminal of all) boring post. Thanks for sharing that with us. Am relatively new to this blogging lark and, after reading her post, now know how it shouldn't be done!

  14. Kimberley who? Never heard of her. Looks like I haven't missed much so far. Oh, and by the way, someone offered me to write a column for a magazine. Of course, I'll turn it down. I don;t have a degree in journalism, duh!


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