Newsmagazines: The Un-Blogs of Our Time

Karen Breslau, San Francisco Bureau Chief, Newsweek, spoke with Journalism Jobs about blogs and newsweeklies today. How does a weekly news magazine stay relevant in this up-to-the-minute news world?

Karen Breslau: Just because people are pelted with information from morning until night, they haven’t lost the basic human hunger for a good story. In that sense, a good newsmagazine story is the un-blog: it’s richly reported, it’s coherent, it puts things into context, it gives you ideas to think about for more than 3 seconds and for God’s sake, it should be well-written. Are blogs diluting the role of journalists?

Karen Breslau: Absolutely not. Who was the last blogger to get kidnapped — or worse — on their way to an interview in Iraq or Pakistan? Blogs aren’t diluting the role of journalists: they are diluting the size and attention of the more affluent spectrum of the audience. (And truth be told, that disproportiately affects journalists… since we are a gossip-driven bunch who spend our days staring at a screen).

And yes, mea culpa: I, like everyone else, have my own favorite blogs to plow through before I get down to the business of the day. But c’mon, blogs are an entertaining echo chamber: At the end of the day how much do you really gain from reading about what someone else wrote about what someone else said about what someone else did? There comes a point in every blog-orgy where I snap myself to my senses and wonder: Why am I reading someone else’s e-mail? I’ve got too much of my own to deal with.”