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Wednesday, January 5 2011

Personal Thoughts on 2010 Blogging

Doing research for the 2010 Dishonest Reporter awards had me going back on a year´s worth of blogging. With the benefit of hindsight, I looked at posts in terms of the issues and angles I raised (and didn´t) and the way I expressed myself (memo to me: use more first-person).

So I had to switch gears mentally when a long-time reader asked about my personal favorite posts. Off the top of my head, here they are in no particular order:

Little Girl Asks Big Question
While taking my kids to school the day after Yom HaZikaron, the remembrance day for fallen soldiers, my daughter asked if there was going to be a war during the summer. I found myself answering her at a bus stop across the street from -- of all places -- the Mt. Herzl military cemetery.

It's one thing to blog these kinds of questions, but responding to an eight year-old girl is completely different. Sharing the experience online required a different, more personal kind of writing, and the timing made it especially appropo.

"Complaints From Both Sides" Is No Rationalization for Lousy BBC Coverage
This was the best example of why I hate to write, but love having written. When BBC Director-General Mark Thompson rationalized the Beeb's lousy coverage by saying they get complaints from Jews and Palestinians, I couldn't let the fallacy of the comment pass.

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with HonestReporting's founding editor, Shraga Simmons making sure my logic was airtight. The resulting was a broader, more rewarding post than I anticipated, and the effort was worth it.

Dead Photojournalist Waiting to Happen
August's Lebanese border skirmish had me pumped for photo bias, and this post came after burning the midnight oil for a Case Study in Reuters Photography. The very next day, I spotted this Reuters photo. Karamallah Daher's access to the front from the Lebanese side was good -- too good. It's a wonder Daher wasn't mistaken for a sniper. This could've been her last photograph.


The image speaks volumes about the thin line Israeli soldiers walk trying to discern -- in split seconds -- between journalists and legitimate threats. In contrast to the lengthy case study, this post was remarkably brief, and I'm gratified that it was Backspin's most-read item.

Tel Aviv and AFP's Lousy "Synecdoche"
It gets my goat when journalists refer to Tel Aviv as Israel's capital, instead of Jerusalem in an indirect way like this AFP example:

The deterioration of diplomatic relations between Britain and Israel comes as historically strong US-Israeli ties are under strain over Tel Aviv's plans to build new settlements.

Learning of the grammatical concept of "synecdoche" helped me crack the subtle bias and articulate why the Tel Aviv reference was inappropriate.

It's a little geeky, but it's an example of the kinds of things you can learn from blogging.



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