As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a journalist. So when I moved to New York in 2007 to intern at the United Nations, I decided time had come to apply for a writing gig at a serious newspaper. I emailed my favorite journal, offering them my services and, to my great astonishment, received a reply within hours.
‘No thank you’, it said.
So I started blogging about how I wanted to become a journalist. Later I joined The Next Web as their founding editor in chief.
Fast forward to two years later.
The newspaper now emailed me, asking if I wanted to start a blog for them. I accepted their invitation, as Dutch newspapers were limiting their internet journalism efforts to copy/ pasting and I wanted the work of Holland’s finest journalists out there on the web.
On this newspaper blog, print journalists elaborated on the stories they had written for the newspapers and carried meaningful discussions with readers. In the first year of its existence, the blog was awarded ‘Best blog of The Netherlands’.
Then I stopped blogging.
Because I became the chief digital of the newspaper’s mother company and in 2013 I co-founded De Correspondent, a world record-breaking journalism platform; both gigs meant I had to quit writing and making the writings of other journalists possible.
But here I am, back at the blogging thing. The last couple of weeks, I find myself posting things on this site again. Please allow me to tell you why, with the hope it might inspire you to start blogging (again) as well.
There’s still no better medium for people to freely share their knowledge than blogging.
It encourages you to dive into your beat – analyzing and rethinking it post by post – while allowing other experts to comment on your finding along the way. You aren’t limited by the constraints some social network have invented for you.
Writing about your experiences and learnings forces you to rephrase the incoherent thoughts in your mind into clear stories other people should understand. This public thinking is incredibly valuable, it makes you understand your work (and where it’s heading) better.
Plus: people who write well, think well (so any exercise is welcome).
Not to mention that you can always go back to your archive to see how you felt about something years ago (which comes in handy, as we humans tend to forget negative experiences).
The only thing that sometimes bothers me about blogging is that it can seem superficial. 200 words about something here.., a link to an article there; when you just look at single posts the whole blogging endeavour doesn’t seem to add much value.
Especially when you’re a fan of this one liner: ‘you’re as good as your last post’.
But when it comes to blogging, that one liner is utter nonsense. At least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.
I tell myself the value of blogging cannot be found in a single post, it can only be found in the stream of posts. With blogging, it’s the sum of all parts that counts. It’s about the public archive you’re building.
That’s why I lately started to encourage myself to constantly lower the barrier of writing a blog article. ‘If it’s a paragraph, it’s a post‘, writes Gina Trapani, and I couldn’t agree more.
So here I am, back at blogging again. I’ll document the lessons I’m learning at De Correspondent – about how we’re trying to turn readers into contributing experts or how we raised $1.7M with a crowdfunding campaign (and what happened in year one). I’ll also point out interesting articles from other folks out there, who are also trying to reinvent publishing – such as the IndieWeb movement.
To sum it up: I’ll take notes while exploring the future of publishing.
(And I’ll do this thing in English. I might not be as good at it as I am in Dutch – I might even be terrible at it – but it allows me to communicate with thousands of peers all over the globe.)