Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Be pretty for a rapidly-changing world

"Has the internet been a curse or blessing?" I asked my tour guide as he showed my journalism mentoring group around the newspaper office today.

"A curse, it's definitely been a curse," he replied with a bittersweet smile. This newspaper was once one of the top ten newspapers in the country, priding itself on its commitment to exclusive foreign correspondents and two Pulitzer prizes. Now, the paper that had multiple offices around the bay area and was an example of our cosmopolitan and educated society was reduced to a dilapidated building of browning walls and dirty plastic linoleum. At 4pm in the afternoon, there were barely 10 reporters in the room. Loss of revenue from advertising because of the internet resulted in huge cuts in staff. There were no more Pulitzer prizes, no more foreign correspondents -- just big empty rooms with old computers and lots of good memories.

Technology is rapidly changing journalism as we know it -- gone are the days when I'd wake up on Sunday mornings as a kid and wait for the familiar "plunk" as the Sunday paper landed at my doorstep. I myself am contributing to this phenomena with my blog. Yet, I will never give up my monthly glossies, or my hardcover novels -- or even the paper-version of the Wall Street Journal. Technology is nice, but to give up the art of paper and ink? Reading by the fireplace just isn't as romantic when it's on a laptop.

But it was really amazing to see the few dedicated journalists still in that room, devoted to making something articulate and beautiful out of something that could look so dismal.

I started writing Miss Couturable as a fashion blog, eager to develop my own voice in fashion journalism and to provide an outlet for me when writing a few articles a week for my gigs wasn't enough. Within less than six months though, my blog has evolved to be more about fashion -- yes, fashion is a huge and fundamental part of my life, but there is so much that I want to share with you. Do I write like a journalist? Perhaps not, but I like to think I'm having a conversation with you -- and sometimes you may choose to gloss over what I'm saying to you, but sometimes my voice will resonate in your head. I want to write to make you feel wanted, to make you feel inspired, and to make you feel like you can change the world.

We're going to go through ups and downs, but promise me you'll stick it through. Enjoy his ephemeral sweet words, cry your tears out when it's all over -- pull a couple all-nighters, say something stupid in front of a fellow authority figure -- and don't forget to always look your best. Just promise me that you'll learn and discover what a beautiful person you are in a world that wants to be beautiful.

Miss Couturable

P.S. While we're on subject of technology, journalism, and blogs -- Miss Couturable is a finalist in the Eighth Annual Weblog Awards under best teen weblog! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated my blog -- it means so much to me. Between now and Thursday, January 31st, please venture over to the awards site and vote for my blog -- it's the one with the black taffeta bow as a snippet. Yes, you do have to make a vote in every category -- but it's a great way to check out some other wonderful blogs.
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