Friday, September 15, 2006

The Metro cover story on BlogHer

Draw them in with a sensational headline and premise, then get to the more substantive meat of the article. I guess that's the Metro way. (Disclosure: I write a monthly column for the Metro, which I'm kinda surprised they didn't disclose in the BlogHer article.) This week the Metro's cover story is basically about BlogHer, the women who were there, and the larger implications of an Internet where people are really free to express every little thought and feeling.

I'll be honest: When I picked up the Metro and saw the cover pitching some blogging battle between feminists and moms (as though moms can't be feminists and vice versa) my heart sank a little. My concerns weren't alleviated when a picture of me, Lisa and Jory was captioned: "Firestarters." The article hit the trifecta right in the first paragraphs by focusing on an isolated vicious blog post that got way too much attention right as BlogHer kicked off this year.

But then a strange things happens...the article goes on to explore the Internet as a potential liberator for women of all spots and stripes...using as examples women who happen to be mothers, and women who happen to blog about sex and eroticism. The blogosphere is encouraging women to explore their own boundaries, and to demand more openness and less repression..whether they're blogging about their thoughts on motherhood, sex, or both.

Bottom line: I really like what the article really is. I'm not so fond of how the article is positioned. Especially since I know that reporters and photographers often don't control headlines, covers or captions, I'm guessing that this was an editorial call to make the story seem to be about conflicts between women, rather than about how all women are searching and striving to make their own choices and find their own way.

You've summed up my feelings on the whole thing pretty fairly, Elisa -- the aim of the piece is solid, but the execution and positioning is a little shaky, and myabe that comes mostly from Deena and Vrinda not being as in-the-thick-of blogger community politics? What has a big charge for us doesn't translate to journalists who blog in our communities. It makes me all the more reticent to do press around blogging, but still see the value in it. I'm still sorting out my responses.
Hi Melissa. Well, you could be right. I also think pulling people in with a sensationalistic cover/title/opener was way over the top compared to the rest of the piece, and that smells of a tabloid editorial mentality to me. Metro is, after all, the *alternative* weekly, so it does tend to go for the shock value.

I thought they treated your words with respect, but, as I think you blogged, the focus on how you don't *look* like a sex worker (basically because you're too nice and pretty) is just cliche-city.
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