Okay, so it’s been said that you can’t be a journalist and a blogger, you can only be a journalist with a blog which, apparently, is different. When I first heard this I took it really, truly personally. Now, I’m starting to think the author may be right.
Following Creative Director of Vogue, Robin Derrick’s talk on Fashion In The Digital Age at the Apple Store in Covent Garden on February 3rd things seem to have come to a head. He went straight for the jugular, ‘brands and consumers are talking directly to each other via blogs and Twitter making traditional beauty journalism redundant’. Ouch. Although I highlighted the Telegraph’s new Beauty Waitlist ‘insider preview’, I’ve read on other blogs that this new on-line feature is meant to ‘fight the bloggers’. I wondered at the time on my own post about it whether it was a shot across the boughs to bloggers, and clearly, it is. Which then obviously doesn’t help anyone if you want to be journalist AND blogger. In this instance, I don’t see why you should have your cake and eat it. If you are going take on bloggers in your print job and yet tout out your blog online then it is no way to win the hearts of your readers in either camp. One editor was particularly vocal on Twitter at the time tweets were coming through the timeline about what Robin was saying; she was clearly livid. But, let’s just see how Beauty Waitlist compares. Is it really coming that magazines and those with fast access to products to enter a race with blogs on who can show and tell first? What, really? It’s kind of even more embarrassingly crass that an editor is telling PRs that if she sees products featured on my blog then she has rather a ‘difficult time justifying showing it to her print readers’. In essence, using a little bit of power-play to bully her way to first dibs. Oh, please! And I know that issue still goes on.
What I think is that if you do want to ‘fight the bloggers’, go ahead! I’m pretty sure that nobody will notice. If you want to be a blogger, you put your readers first and not your ego, you don’t enter an unseemly scramble when actually, nobody else is playing and you get down and dirty and start swatching those products. And that would be in proper day-light, at all hours of the day and night, after you’ve done your day-job. You’ll also need to know what an OCC Lip Tar is and does, you’ll need to be prepared to share your Face Of The Day, your nails done up in polish, photographed and posted, your spots after treatment (and maybe even before), your feet after they’ve been nibbled by fish. You’ll need to spend hours on-line researching new stuff, you’ll need to know who Temptalia is, you’ll need to know exactly what happened when MAC met Rodarte….hmm, just not seeing it myself. What I can see happening is a ‘look at me, I got it first’ vanity project.
So, to quickly round up, I am a beauty-writer and blogger, but in my heart I’m a blogger first. Whatever I do outside of blogging is just my day-job, just like, er, any other blogger. Where I do apply journalistic tactics to my blog is to source first looks, tussle with PRs who still use the old fashioned notion of magazine exclusives, and spend hours and hours researching a sniff of a story. And why? Just like any other blogger and, indeed, journalist, I want my readers to have something to come back for, that they probably can’t find everywhere else and that feeds their passion for beauty in a way that has heart and integrity and is nothing, I mean, nothing, whatsoever to do with who is advertising that week.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
I think if anything, being a journalist would only enhance your skills as a blogger. I fail to see where there’s any conflict of interest. At least what you get with the majority of beauty blogs is the unvarnished truth. The same can’t be said for paid “opinion”, be it a blog or a print/tv ad.
The naysayers sound like the sort who, if they can’t or won’t do it themselves aka blog, shouldn’t get in the way of those of us who do.
Interesting post you make some good points. I read some blogs by journalist and I enjoy them as much as a “normal” plain persons. It not so much who the writer is, its what they write that I find interesting 🙂
the snobbery that comes from print towards bloggers, both beauty and fashion, is absurd! I follow blogs where they, like you said, get into the trenches and show face of the days, how their spots are healing from a product, very personal anecdotes and fun writing, things that don’t always come across in a print medium. the biggest thing is blogger interaction, instant access in the comments and dialogue! I don’t really care about who swatches what first or shows something first (just like i don’t care about when someone comments on a blog yelling FIRST), I care about the community and chit chatting with one another, sharing our thoughts and opinions on all things beauty.
I used to read magazines but no longer. Blogs have replaced magazines for me and are a huge improvement. More humorous. More informative. More real.
The journalists never give the negatives. It’s just puffery. Beauty journalism was never journalism to begin with. It was advertising.
I agree with you completely and your point is very eloquently made – but to a reader isn’t it the content and the fact they like the writers tone – in the age of the internet the news comes to the reader not the other way round?
I agree with the comment that being a journalist can improve the quality of a blog. For me, doing a degree and learning how to write without bias has changed the way I approach a blog post.
But, is it just me or is some of this a kind of “omg, we don’t control all the beauty information given to consumers anymore” panic?
These journalists can provoke bloggers and fight their own fight. I’m going back to researching primers so I can tell my readers what exactly a silicone is and why it’s in their make up. Afterall, I’m not worried about what I write in case a lose a £10K advertising contract.
I definitely agree I’m a blogger first. I’m not a journalist by day but I feel that my “true” identity is that of a blogger. I often get frustrated reading magazines because as a beauty blogger I consider myself to be quite educated…and some of the content I will read in magazines is incorrect or has changed by the time the magazine has gone to print. The great thing about blogs is they are always in motion, they are changing and editing always being updated and journalism feels much more static (case in point…I know a travel journalist who wrote an entire article about Tunisia about a fantastic holiday destination and by the time the article was published there was a Civil War in Tunisia!).
Given the choice I support bloggers (not just because I am one), they feel more trustworthy and tend to have a larger knowledge base. In order to be truly informed you DO need to know about what happened between Mac & Rodarte, who Temptalia is and what happened when OPI sent out a variety of C&D letters to bloggers! What happened when L’Oreal bought Essie and COTY bought OPI. It changes everything.
Thanks for posting–I was wondering about your thoughts on the journalist/blogger. I think journalists do have an edge over non-full-time bloggers–if it’s part of their job, they have more time (they aren’t balancing both), and access to products first. So Rescue Beauty Lounge has 20 samples-3 go to bloggers, 17 to print editors. The print editor who blogs can place it on the blog sooner than a non-print blogger and gain readership via early access. They might not swatch and research, as you suggest, though. Hmmm. Was there a hashtag for the conference you attended? I’d like to read the feed. Thanks.
I think the main reason I follow blogs is the writer’s independence. I’ve been put off by years of beauty mags reproducing PR copy without any critical comment, if I blog I like rates something I’m more likely to trust it and if I’m suspicious I can always look to reader comments for backup. The comments are a really crucial part of most blogs. Beauty mags are nice for the hairdressers but not much else now.
I dont see why a person cant be both. It seems to me that the people moaning about it are just annoyed they didnt think of doing it first!
I think that being a journalist gives added value to the blog …. I enjoy a daily chuckle or two from a few journalist/bloggers that I follow!
I stopped reading magazines ages ago too when I started reading more blogs. If I really want to know if something works or doesn’t I read or watch loads of different reviews on it first and you can’t get that with magazines.
I personally don’t care who blogs about a press release first – it’s makeup not the news.
Interesting post! I’m a journalist first and a blogger second I’d say. They’re massively different beasts, but both great in their own right!
I’m firmly of the belief that there’s room for both, and a person who can be both is a bonus to both her readerships.
What I feel that magazines and print press do are make people aware of the products on the market. A full page advert of a product does that too, but an editorial piece, even if its only a 2 liner, will give a little more information, thus making a reader more interested in finding out more.
In the same token, a blog does the same thing, just with more words, and yes, perhaps more personal involvement, and that in fact, both should maybe work hand in hand.
What would be wrong to assume though, is that neither can exist will the other survives (Harry Potter!), as I feel that they really can, and actually always will.
I read a handful of blogs, not because I dislike blogs, but because I don’t have all the time in the world to spend on the internet. If I’m on the net, I’m researching for MAF, or I’m writing for MAF! In the same token, my Mum, who will happily go and drop £200 on cosmetics in one go, has never heard of a blog, let alone read one!
okay, so perhaps she gets some insider knowledge from me, but given that she reads various broadsheet newspapers and magazines at home, and will check that I’m discussing the same products, and whilst at work, will read whatever magazine is in the staff room, I’d say that she’s getting her information from somewhere other than the internet.
In fact, she alerted me to Ellis Faas long before anyone on the net had started talking about it!
I also want to ‘delicately’ say that some blogs are price point specific. Not every blogger has access to high end and high priced products, and equally, some blog readers who have a larger cosmetics budget aren’t going to necessarily only read about high street budget brands.
What magazines do, is open up a world of products and availability to everyone, and therefore, the person who writes a blog, who is a journalist too, can only have a more broad spectrum of products to discuss also.
so yeah, in a long winded way, I’d say you can be a journalist with a blog, or a blogger who is a journalist!
Very interesting post and comments. I am a tiny blogger and I would love to be a writer but really I don’t want the hassle and couldn’t face the rejection, so for me I can get my daily fix of trying to think of how many adjectives I can find to describe a texture of a skincream and I write a daily diary.
To be honest I have been disappointed with the beauty pages in magazines in UK for a long time, ever since the demise of Marie Claire Health and Beauty which I loved with a passion, articles which were interesting, about real people trying real products, and the Clothes Show Magazine was pretty good as well. I can’t understand why we can’t have a UK Allure, maybe for the same reason that we can no longer have UK branches of Sephora *sigh* I have no problem with journalists having blogs but there are some fantastic blogs by people who are not journalists and as such the journoblogalists had better be prepared for some competition (present company excepted 😉 Thanks for a great thought provoking post. Jan xx
A great post.
Another person here who hasn’t read a magazine for a long long time. I don’t care. I’d rather get my beauty fixes on line and I have no desires to do “what kind of lover are you” quizzes any more. I get exactly what I want from blogs.
Love your third paragraph, it totally encapsulates what sets us apart. Someone may see a collection coming on a page of a magazine announcing things to look forward to for Spring, but the canny blog reader will turn to blogs to actually find out what the product is like and how it swatches.
Also, I know I’m always in danger of being sycophantic which I do try to avoid, I think you are a perfect example of the fact that you can be a journalist and a blogger. Hence the success of your blog.
I loved this post as a beuty blogger and blogger at first, thank you for remembering us what we are doing and why we’re not go to become like this stupid people xx
I love glossy mags, but I don’t read them to get valid opinions about beauty products. In fact, in the *mumblemumble* years I’ve been reading the glossies, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a negative thing said about a specific beauty product.
I also don’t care about who got first dibs, though nine times out of ten I hear about a new product on a blog before I see it mentioned in a magazine.
Companies may be subject to more scrutiny from bloggers reviewing their products, but they’re also getting masses of free advertising. When blogs get bigger – and they will – a lot of companies will realise how much money they can save by utilising them.
There’s room for both, and I’d hate to see the end of the glossies, but they need to lift their game and work with the blogs, not fight them. They won’t win.
Thank you for this! You’ve really been writing some insightful posts recently!
I prefer to go to bloggers’ sites to see swatches in action, such as at Temptalia or Karla Sugar, to get a feel for a product. That’s why I do my own, too. I also put myself out there with FOTDs, and you don’t often see magazines doing that.
For me beauty journalism is dead. I still buy mags but skim over the beauty pages. I get what I want from blogs, I know the blogs I can trust to give me an honest opinion, I don’t care when I hear about a product launch so much as an opinion on that product. In the past as a consumer I grew sick and tired of wasting my money buying products that mags gave great coverage to but were rubbish. My favourite blogs give me more insight to make an informed choice so I am a happier consumer, not someone taken for a ride by the beauty journalists and mags advertising bods.
Interesting and thought provoking as ever. I think that in the long run the glossy women’s magazine has had its day. The only question is will they vanish next year or in ten years time.
I’ve put a bit more detail over on my blog, but most of the points I make have already been covered in this discussion.
There’s nothing wrong with being a journalist AND a blogger – we’re just keeping up with the modern world by using the internet, while still adhering to our day jobs!!
I am neither a journalist or a blogger really, I set up my site over 10 years ago to shine a light on what make-up artists really use on shoots. As I have represented m-up artists for over 20 years I had access to so many tips I wanted to pass on. We have evolved into an independent website where we write about what we like and still advertise successfully too.
Of course there is room for both, I don’t think magazines can give honest reviews all the time, this can be for advertising relationships or they simply don’t have the time because of copy dates. You have to still shop around for blogs that suit you too > I agree with a point up there that says a lot of blogs only like to write about high-end products and turn their noses up and cheaper brands.
Trying to start a blogger v journo war (yawn, again) is just pointless and unnecessary.
How about we carry on doing what we both like doing and let the public vote with their clicks or their ££’s > I think the truth will out..
With a background in beauty journalism, I may be naive in saying that I don’t really see why blogs would cause the death of journalism.
Why do journalists feel so threatened? I understand that they can’t publish a magazine as quickly as a blog can be published. But if they want to get product news out to their readers quicker, why not just set up their own blog alongside the mag? And if they already do, then what’s the problem?
I love blogs and I love magazines, and one will never replace the other.
Blogs are great to get honest reviews of products, to see personality in the writing and to find out about things that are not necessaruly ‘new’ – I’d rather know about products that work; I don’t care whether they have been around for donkeys or not.
Magazines are great to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon for a variety of info and entertainment – interviews, in-depth features, product reviews etc.
I think it can only be a good thing if the media were to work together with bloggers – magazines; if you are so threatened by bloggers, why not recruit them to write a blog for you?
Agree with the idea of bloggers writing for mags!
Like others I now get my beauty news from blogs. I’ve tried products that I never would have thought of because of good reviews on blogs. Glossy magazine beauty pages have become very stale in content and theme eg. it’s the January issue so you know it’s Spas you can’t afford on the continent. There is room for both but the glossies have to up their game. Newpapers have improved their beauty content.
Oh I really thoroughly enjoyed this post! Esp the bit about doing and knowing all the things bloggers do. Thankfully I do all the bloggy things and can answer all questions posed…phew!
It’s an amusing little beauty world…and I think, despite all the first dibs and press releases journalists can get, it’s the little things bloggers stumble upon, like metro chic sephora nail polish, and water marbling, sock buns and DIY ombre hair…it’s the time and effort and sheer experimenting that makes the difference.