Posts Tagged ‘Medill School’

I wrote a blog post this morning about personal branding in journalism, responding to a column Gene Weingarten had written for the Washington Post, claiming that branding was ruining journalism. Weingarten was responding to an inquiry from a journalism student he identified only as “Leslie.” In a comment on my blog, Owen Youngman, a journalism professor at the Medill School at Northwestern University, identified himself as Leslie’s professor, though he, like Weingarten, protected her identity. He also quoted from her paper. I asked Youngman if he would tell Leslie that I’d like to publish her paper. So Leslie Trew Magraw, a Medill master’s student, sent me this research paper, with permission to publish it. I have added links and made a small edit or two, but otherwise, this is Leslie’s work.

Update: Youngman has blogged about this, too.

Update: I used Storify to curate discussion of this issue on various blogs and Twitter.

Update: I have blogged about my own personal branding strategy.

Update: Joe Grimm is leading a workshop on building your personal brand.

As any good brand practitioner will tell you, brand health is all about diversification — making sure you’re not a one-trick pony. Gene Weingarten is no one-trick pony. He’s more like an onion – that can make you laugh just as easily as he can make you cry. Like a satisfying meal, he sticks with you.

Though he is perhaps most widely known in the DC metro area for his weekly humor column in the Washington Post’s Washington Magazine called “Below the Beltway,” Weingarten is also a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for serious feature-length journalistic work.

Everyone I polled (and I quizzed more than 25 people and spoke to four others at length), knew who Weingarten was and had a fairly strong opinion of him. Most people had a soft spot for him, at the very least. Others were Gene fanatics – and a small minority thought he was overrated (As my publisher friend, Alex Orr, put it: “I think he’s a generally unfunny, unoriginal hack who holds onto his job only because he’s been there so long that folks now overlook the question of whether his work is any good and instead embrace him as a ‘beloved’ fixture in the DC journalism world.”). That his name inspires instant recognition and triggers such powerful emotional responses suggests a robust brand power. (more…)

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I was too busy yesterday enjoying beautiful spring weather, a beautiful baby granddaughter and exciting NCAA basketball to join a lively Twitter discussion of anonymous comments.

One of the primary discussants (it wasn’t combat, but it was pretty vigorous) was Mathew Ingram of GigaOm, who blogged about the topic (and has a link to a search string that pulls much of the discussion together). Steve Yelvington also blogged on the topic, noting that an ounce of leadership is worth a pound of management.

They summarize the issue well in detail, so I will summarize more broadly (and, admittedly, oversimplify) here:

One side (led on Twitter yesterday by Howard Owens) argues that anonymous comments inevitably become ugly and you have a more civil, responsible online discussion if you require people to participate by their real, verified names, as newspapers have always done in letters to the editor.

The other side (led by Ingram) embraces the freewheeling discussion of the anonymous comments, noting that responsible moderation of and engagement with the conversation can rein in (or remove) the ugliest exchanges, while keeping debate lively and honest. Without anonymity, whistleblowers are less likely to join the discussion, they rightly note (and the other side will rightly note that the anonymous bigots way outnumber the anonymous whistleblowers in story and blog comments). And besides, don’t we sometimes want to know how ugly people can be? (more…)

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