Wonkette’s Words of Wisdom

Ana Marie Cox, a.k.a. Wonkette

I participated in a symposium yesterday examining new developments in journalism, which was serendipitously held by the Scripps School at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, where I grew up. Besides giving me the opportunity to see my family for free, it gave me a welcome chance to nerd out about journalism stuff.

I get to discuss photography and photojournalism regularly, and being on a panel with Aurora founder Jose Azel and multimedia producer Jessica Chance was a pleasure. But I especially enjoyed debating the future of journalism and media within our culture. Such as…

Considering the quality of news produced by NPR and PBS, is government funding of the media necessarily such a bad idea? If journalists become more like curators of crowd-sourced information, where does the responsibility of verification and accountability lie? In an age where the instantaneous is valued above all, is history being forgotten and is it journalists’ responsibility to bring the historical perspective back into the public debate? If the online world requires personal branding, can a journalist still maintain their place as an objective observer, or is that idea outdated and no longer applicable?

As usual at these symposiums, I was happy to share my wisdom with the audience, but was more excited to hear the perspective of the other brilliant, forward-thinking presenters, the OU faculty, and several honors students from the college.

The final highlight was a keynote by Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette.com and all around badass. I didn’t know much about her and had no expectations, but she was genuine and kind and hilarious and had some good advice…especially for a young media maven who’s just quit her job to travel and try to figure out how to get paid to do what she really loves 😉

Ana Marie Cox’s 10 Tips for Life (as a journalist)

1. Don’t be afraid to do stuff that has no point.
2. It’s ok to have a thin skin, but you have to heal quickly. (And, you should put as much thought into your response as someone put in to their criticism.)
3. Be a fan, do favors, and find people who will make your stuff better.
4. You’re not your job.
5. Respect everyone else’s work as much as your own.
6. Celebrate your passions.
7. Keep your vanity in check.
8. You get to decide what kind of journalist you’re going to be. (And, transparency is more important than lack of bias.)
9. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is make the logical, rational choice. (At this point my mom, who was sitting beside me, looked over and smiled at me. That made me really happy.)
10. Selling out is also ok.

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