There are various beauty journalism awards that happen during the course of the year, most notably P&G and Johnson & Johnson. They’re a great idea and it’s a huge boost to any journalist to pick up an industry award in an arena where beauty journalism doesn’t necessarily always get the attention it deserves. I always feel there is a difference between beauty journalism and beauty writing – I call myself a beauty writer, because it is rare for me to get right down to the scientific nitty gritty that is at the heart of new and innovative beauty products – particularly cosmecuticals – I kind of feel that there is only so much that I need to know. But the ‘journalists’ are the ones who really do ask the difficult questions and have the scientific knowledge to know what to ask in the first place. They’re the ones that inspect every ingredient for a back-story, sniff out any ingredient trends, sometimes even travelling to the source to get the full SP, and study the rise and fall of beauty business stocks and shares; they know the industry inside out. Writing about a new lipstick colour, in my view, falls more to the beauty writers. One is no better nor any worse than another, but in my head, I categorize them differently. And then of course, there are the beauty bloggers, who have in recent years been added as an afterthought or clumsy attempt at acknowledgement in these award categories.
Most recently, I tried to enter BBB for the 2011 7th Annual Johnson & Johnson Beauty Care Journalism Awards. Last year it was so complicated that I nearly gave up and this year swore I wouldn’t even enter again, but curiosity or vanity got the better of me and I ended up entering. As part of the entry process you are required to state what category you are entering – Best Beauty Blog in my case – and to attach your article for submission. It won’t actually take your entry without an attachment so I ended up attaching the logo for the sake of having an attachment. Obviously a blog is something that is not about one article – posts aren’t articles for god’s sake – they’re posts. That’s what makes them different from, uh, articles. A blog is about its entirety, encompassing genre, personality and content. So, I was a little bit surprised to then get an email asking me to forward my ‘article’ for submission. I explained that a blog doesn’t have articles per se, and was told that I could forward one blog post to represent my entire blog as my ‘article’, and that it should have the ability to inform and educate readers in a style suitable for the target audience. I asked to be withdrawn immediately from the competition.
Actually, I could feel tears of frustration prickling at the back of my eyes – this huge, vast company who could make such an inroad and be beneficial to bringing blogs into the mainstream arena and yet their understanding of beauty blogs is so poor that it is actually shocking. I wonder what they know about my ‘target audience’? I don’t have a ‘target’…BBB is open to any and all and isn’t written with any particular target in mind – you only have to love beauty to get something from reading it. That is all. The fact that they can’t tell the difference between a post and a beauty feature is worrying, and slinging that kind of remit onto bloggers – who aren’t on the whole, journalists – is ridiculous, and frankly quite depressing. It’s one step forward and two back.
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