“Freshly Pressed” Insider’s Report

Being “Freshly Pressed” is the best thing that can happen to a blogger, short of going viral. (But it doesn’t put you in a class with Adrianna Huffington or Matt Drudge.) Human beings thrive on recognition and affirmation.

Freshly Pressed  focused my attention. It prompted some overdue housekeeping around the blog, clean-up and improvements that are hopefully invisible to the reader.

It also reminded me of the largeness of the digital world. One little blog is like a star in a galaxy, or sand on a beach. Though insignificant in the grand scheme of things, one blog can shine light in the darkness, or  — like a grain of sand — irritate the complacent and powerful.

I use Freshly Pressed  almost every day. It helps me look around at the rest of the blogosphere, which is a humbling experience. There’s a lot of talent out there!

They say members of the younger generation (to me, that means 40 and under) aren’t into reading, and don’t know how to write. I suppose there’s some truth in that generalization. But browsing the blogosphere, I get the impression that every person under 40 who does like to read and write is blogging. Blogging fast and furious! Some of these people are dripping with talent. And energy. How do they churn out so many quality posts?

In the event you’ve never seen “Freshly Pressed,” it can be found right here. The post that got me Pressed was a movie review of “Trouble With The Curve.”

Between my early days as a reporter, and later days as an editor, the standards for newspaper writing soared. Sure, we always had the rare H.L. Mencken or Russell Baker. But most of us were journeymen, some barely literate, hounding every police station, courthouse and city hall, and griping around every copy desk.

(Only thing I have in common with Mencken and Baker is all three of us worked at the same once-prominent daily newspaper. Not at the same time, of course.  Mencken toiled there most of his life, and Baker was a police reporter and foreign correspondent early in his career, before moving to the New York Times.  They both wrote fine autobiographies, as well. Russell’s Growing Up  is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.)

But I digress, as usual.

I’m not fit to carry a typewriter or sharpen a pencil for either of those great newspapermen. I wanted to make the point that blogging has nearly taken over the role of newspapers and magazines. Most important, blogging continues to raise the bar for daily writing. Almost all under-40 writers spend some of their time blogging.  The opportunity to blog helps all of us improve our writing and develop our talent.

In the 21st century, there’s not much demand for mediocrity in writing or any other field.  Oldsters have to adjust to this hard reality. The education system in the U.S. shields children and teenagers from the sharp edges of meritocracy, unlike schools in Japan and many other countries. But all college graduates soon run up against reality, and they’re going to live with it for the rest of their lives. I shudder to think what will happen to the hindmost.

Many of today’s bloggers could compete with the likes of Mencken or Russell. Many others are brilliant poets, humorists, and photographers. But only a few  will have the opportunity to write for a salary. Indie publishing opens a new door for writers; many will sell Ebooks, but only a few will make a living that way.

What I’m saying is, WRITE ON!  Few of us will earn money by writing; writing and blogging will have to be their own rewards.

Financial considerations aside, blogging is now a vital medium of communication. Bloggers are important. Blogging can expose lies and keep the truth alive. Blogging can connect people.

Allow me to indulge in a moment of “irrational exuberance.” Blogging can change the world. 

— John Hayden

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2 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Life

2 responses to ““Freshly Pressed” Insider’s Report

  1. Kudos!

    Sadly, I have learned that bloggers who use a lot of NSFW language like me will never be Freshly Pressed. I don’t mean I think I could necessarily expect to be if that rule were lifted, but there is probably room for a Freshly Pressed Blue… 🙂 One of the things I do love about this is that blogging makes you focus on writing lucidly, and also makes you aware of the times when you’re not equal to focusing.

    Like

  2. I demand a recount! “Sixteen Tons” should definitely qualify! Nobody writes more interesting posts about a variety of subjects, from cats to music to “life is stupid.”

    I learned to FOCUS as a young newspaper reporter. Whatever I covered on a given night, I had to speed — usually over miles of winding country roads — back to the newspaper, writing the story in my head.

    Skid into the parking lot, run up the steps, answer the editor’s questions as I throw my coat on the desk, light a cigarette, and begin pounding the typewriter. Once you get the lead, the story just flows.

    Usually I had 30 minutes to an hour until deadline. The editor took the sheets of newsprint as they rolled out of my typewriter — hence the parts of a story-in-progress are called “takes.” He edited without mercy, rolled it up and tossed it into a duct where it fell by gravity to the composing room below.

    Haven’t felt so alive since that first job, and haven’t been able to focus like that since I quit smoking. Nicotine and caffein sharpen my dull brain.

    Now, Ms. Sled, after all these years, you tell me I’m supposed to write LUCIDLY!

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