bloggers vs. journalists...the battle rages on?

the bow that sparked a thousand gripes. source unknown.

a few weeks ago at the catholic university of milan, a round table discussion was organized for the topic of fashion blogging. i was invited but unable to attend and i'm upset i couldn't make it - especially after finding out from attendees that an argument arose when fashion magazine journalists stated that blogging is unethical, stupid and pointless.

i was under the impression that this issue had been put to rest after the whole tavi/bow affair... but seeing as how it's been re-hashed, i feel like weighing in, especially since i wasn't there to say my peace.

what exactly is the insinuation behind "blogging is unethical"? and are they saying all blogging is inherently unethical? 'cause that's a broad and boldly untrue statement. aren't journalists supposed to be big on research and providing factual information? i'm sure there are some bloggers who are unethical, just as there exist some unethical journalists and some unethical people in every profession, country and walk of life. some people are unethical, and others aren't. to say "blogging is unethical" is a highly unsupported statement that sounds more like sour grapes than fact.

it's difficult to write about a product you haven't seen, touched, worn - and that's why many designers will willingly gift things to the press. but i used to work for a designer who would flat out get asked by magazine editors and journalists for freebies. in some cases, she would send over gifts as a thank you and editors would call back requesting alternate (more expensive) styles. i have yet to meet a blogger with the gall to pull a stunt like that. in fact, none of the blogs i read seem even remotely unethical. i never feel that bloggers are lying to me - endorsing things they don't actually like just for perks or freebies. most bloggers are aware that their reputation is incredibly important and as a result are very careful in the things they choose to feature. those who don't care can't really be considered good bloggers, can they?  so really... this point is moot.

"blogging is stupid and pointless."  aside from being a rude thing to say, i'd argue the exact opposite. granted, not all blogs are created equal and it's up to each of us to find those that suit our tastes. but on the whole, i think the blogosphere is extremely useful and exactly what fashion needs.

in past years, many people have felt excluded from fashion. it can be an intimidating world and as a result, cause many people to roll their eyes, call it silly and just not bother. people will mock that which they don't understand, and they won't take the time to understand something that makes them feel excluded. unless we want fashion to continue coming off as an industry filled with insecure, self-important people, that's just gotta stop. for fashion to thrive, it has to adapt to new attitudes and this mentality of "you're not good enough to be part of this" is absolutely passé.

i get the impression that the resistance to fashion bloggers primarily stems from that mentality. bloggers take it upon themselves to do fashion their own way and confidently put it out there for all to see. they are broadening the definition of style. they prove daily that everyone and anyone can do fashion - regardless of size, age, location or financial means. this severe critique of fashion bloggers doesn't take any of that into account. sharing personal style gives people the confidence to get creative and have fun with fashion instead of feeling intimidated by it. that's the exact opposite of useless. the broader fashion becomes, the more creativity will thrive, which in turn will create more variety, resulting in a larger fashion industry. to me, that sounds like progress.

bloggers have certain freedoms allowing them to discuss issues magazines can't (or don't want to). topics like body image are being kept alive in the blogosphere daily. same with environmentalism, good working conditions in factories, fair trade, animal rights, various ethical debates, and many other topics that relate the fashion industry back to the real world. as much as fashion might represent fantasy, the industry itself is not independent of world issues. the blogosphere provides the perfect forum for discussion and the fact that it's thriving is a clear sign of what's desired and where we're headed. it isn't a war on magazines. and to attack bloggers with such harshness is a futile resistance against the direction people are going in of their own volition - the exact opposite of what the ever-evolving world of fashion is all about.

fashion blogging is a whole heap of hard work that requires steadfast dedication and continuously updated knowledge. in the past six months i've gotten to know the fashion blogging world extremely well. daily i meet interesting, creative and multi-talented people with smart views and wonderful personalities. when journalists attack fashion bloggers, i can't help but cock an eyebrow and question their motives. if they're making these accusations, they must not know the blogosphere very intimately, and if they don't know the blogosphere, how do they feel justified in making such accusations?

it reflects poorly on fashion as a whole when such pettiness gets thrown about. journalists and bloggers are not at odds. if anything, they're a compliment to each other and should work together to create new, innovative and creative material for people to see. it's an exciting time for the world at large and fashion is not excluded from that. welcome to the digital revolution, please check your old-fashioned mentality at the door and get with the program!

23 comments:

  1. definitely agree with wat u had to say, the blogosphere is a place where one can exercise their creativity without any barriers, too bad the journalists doesn't seem to feel that way...

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  2. You've pretty much just said everything that I was thinking. The only difference between journalists and bloggers, is that bloggers have more freedom to express themselves. Also perhaps these journalist are making these ridiculous comments because they feel threatened by bloggers? Look at how many bloggers, have gained recognition for their work. Perhaps they feel that bloggers will eventually become the media....either way journalists shouldn't be so petty! Great article!

    <3

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  3. Cool blog!!

    http://thefashioninbox.blogspot.com

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  4. thanks ladies! your support means the world and i'm so glad to hear there are so many out there who think like me. =)

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  5. very well written!
    i completely agree, fashion blogging is not stupid or unethical (i cannot even understand the usage of 'unethical' here).
    Thing is, most of us fashion bloggers write because we love fashion and we do it for free. Journalists don't do it for free, it's their job not their hobby. If they feel angered by fashion bloggers that means they acknowledge the competition.
    But still - if A has a clothing shop and B likes to knit as a hobby, can A really call B stupid or unethical because B enjoys giving out free sweaters?

    fashionatemybrains.blogspot.com

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  6. This post is incredibly on point! The idea that bloggers are unethical just because we are being treated the same way that journalists have since like forever is nuts. You made a lot of clear points. I really loved this post!

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  7. Straight to the point and right on key! Great response to such a on going issue!
    We as bloggers blog because we have something to say and not for the monetary value.

    vogueandvintage.blogspot.com

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  8. Kristy, once again you've nailed it.. this is hands down what I feel despite being fairly new to the blogosphere.

    Keep it up!

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  9. It just comes down to one thing: the majority of people are dumb. Dumb, petty and selfish. And it's on both sides. You make some really good points. The journalists in question could bitch and complain about bloggers but instead why don't they try to do their job better, or work with bloggers. There's so much information that could be shared if they were willing. Stupid people. =p

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  10. Eloquently said, Kristy. I am curious as to whether all the journalists present agreed with that false stereotype.

    The cool thing with blogs is that it truly does allow democratic popularity to rule: the exceptional blogs rise to high readership because people actually do have the taste to choose the excellent ones. Mediocre or unethical ones will remain in relative obscurity and that's fine.

    Also, great point about blogging helping to break through the snobbish and obnoxious - only rich people deserve to participate in fashion. I never thought that about fashion blogging, but you are dead on.

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  11. i completely agree with you on what you've said. fashion bloggers are a way for everyday people to get inspired by normal people like themselves, not models or big time editors. i've learned so much from reading fashion blogs, and felt so much more welcomed because it's like being in a close community, whereas on a big fashion website there is no communication or warm welcomes. i think the journalists are just afraid for their jobs :P

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  12. in my opinion darling...I do not endorse or use products that are not effective even though it is free or I am getting paid by the company...

    This has been a great issue...and because of blogs, journalist are alarm on how a lot of fresh bloggers can attract loads of readers and worst advertisers in their site.

    They are now threatened by us...sad to say!!!

    Kisses love

    Great post!!! very informational...

    Kisses
    Sweet
    PensandLens

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  13. Bloggers ARE the new media, and this new democratic voice has the old guard worried. Why? Because our voices, our blogging shows that the old way of shoving down our throats what's "new" or "in" no longer works. That people, people like us, are starving for real voices in the fashion world. All the big time bloggings, Karla's Closet, Pandora, Fashion Toast, Tavi of Style Rookie,etc have this thing in common they have a genuine and authentic voice and point of view, and we love to see it, read it, live it.

    So all the belly aching of so-called journalists is just the outrage that they've lost some serious clout. Boo-hoo. "Stupid and pointless." I'd LOVE to know WHO EXACTLY SAID THAT. Because that person just insulted everyday woman as a whole.

    Because it's the everyday, real life, flesh and blood women who have been flooding the internet with their content (blogs) and readership.

    And it's funny in the way those same fsshion folks are accusing bloggers of questionable ethics. It is widely known that the perk of a magazine was those freebies. Ha. Perhaps it's just sour grapes that they are not the only ones being romanced by designers. I think it's time for print journalists to stop complaining and name calling and step up THEIR game.

    As for me, I will read my favorite fashion blogs, and my fashion magazines. They are both media, equal footing.

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  14. Great editorial Kristy. You are my favor blogger.
    Smart, honest, right to the point.
    Keep up the good work.

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  15. Great post Kristy. Love the way you stand out for blogger and made this point very clear to the journalists. I mean really..? who's going to red paper for the rest of they life when everything around us in becoming digital?
    I have met a few journalist through fashion shows I've attended and they can't stand me.
    I listen to everybody's opinion until they know they limit.
    and you are so right.. we can say anything we want in our blog. It's a true honest opinion
    "Welcome to the digital revolution"
    LOx

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  16. I absolutely loved this post! You're points were extremely valid. I think what's happening with the journalists is that they are no longer the sole authority on what's fashionable. That was a place reserved just for them. Being a blogger who tests out samples very regularly, I don't waste my time I products I simply don't like. I think when you're dealing with a writer who is also a consumer, I think you get a more down to earth and honest review - and brands are realizing that more and more everyday!

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  17. Well said and well done!! I guess they bad mouth things that they are intimidated by. I say, we keep doing what we do, blog about our passions and make the journalists work even harder to catch up with us!

    And anyway, at the end of the day, we are all journalists in our own way.

    :)

    http://LylaLovesFashion.blogspot.com

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  18. I think it's important to look at the issue from the fashion journalists point of view. They probably went to school for years to learn to write well, and then spent who knows how many years clawing their way up the ladder, and here come a bunch of young women with a laptop and internet access and suddenly they're the fashion experts! Think about how terrifying that must be.

    The internet is changing the way people get information. I now get most of my fashion news and ideas from bloggers. I really don't even buy magazines - and why should I? There's better stuff on the net!

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  19. Loved this post!!! I totally agree, because I have experienced some of this elitism within the book blog world. Some authors often look down their noses at book bloggers, but book blogs are where over half of their marketing takes place, and its growing every day. People are just old fashioned and need to get with the times.

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  20. Interesting read. I think that those quotes are mainly driven by jealousy and fear that the bloggers will take over the fashion world, and become more important than the magazine editors. It's quite a bitchy world out there, it would be nicer if we could work together and not be so hateful.
    brunetteblogging.com

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  21. thank you both kate and kim for the thoughtful comments. i think you both make great points and i'm so glad you enjoyed the article.

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  22. I've been so busy with school I haven't been keeping up with my blog reading but I'm so glad that I read this even though I'm way late. This is an incredible article, you are very smart!! I am one of those people that used to feel excluded from fashion like you mention. I used to hate it, and it wasn't until last year that I started getting into it, and that was entirely because I started reading blogs!! Blogs definitely make me feel like fashion is for everyone, and my favorites are blogs like yours because you have such great style inspiration and these really smart articles.

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  23. Hi Kristy,
    I posted this on my FB wall:
    Your blog reflects more imagination than several magazine articles. You seem to realize freedom's abstract nature more than several people. I'm glad that you wrote this entry. However, I wish that you don't have to waste yourself much on those who've chosen to misinterpret, or misunderstand. It seems that people deliberately misinterpret, and then deliberately misunderstand, and then deliberately murder (ban/censor) including because they aren't like the best. Keep on the awesome blog for people to make the best decisions.
    Best,
    Shakti Saran

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