This morning, per usual with my morning coffee, I opened the Bangor Daily online to read today’s news and was excited to see that a good portion of the coverage on the front page online was written by my fellow bloggers. Amy Fried, Matthew Gagnon and Ethan Strimling were all featured nice and prominent in the center and discussing politics in their usual insightful and entertaining ways! George Smith was discussing a recent episode of Wildfire in which the topic was gun legislation. A little further down in the Living section Sarah Gelber, John Holyoke, and Chad Lothian were discussing food, the great outdoors, and beer! All subjects sometimes of equal if not greater interest to readers than the more weighty issues of politics. All of this is pretty common on any given day on the Bangor Daily.
What I noticed this morning, however, and I’m not sure how new it is or if it has just now struck me, was that each blog was marked with the word “Blog” after the title. I wondered why this is. Is it a disclaimer of some sort letting the readers know that the paper can’t be held responsible for the quality of what follows?
Maybe, and although I’d like to say that is unfair, it probably isn’t. There are certainly bloggers on sites everywhere that are not worth the time it takes to read them. However, I have a special love for my fellow BDN bloggers, especially my writing partner, Jim LaPierre, and I have to tell you, although most of us are not journalists, we are all worth the time it takes to read us! There are a few, like Emily Burnham, who write professionally by day and blog as well. You can count on her stuff always being awesome. John Holyoke is also a BDN staffer, I think that’s why his spelling is so good! Then there’s Pat Lemieux another full time employee who writes his blog on the side about his experiences as a dad, and again, it always rocks.
Then there are the rest of us. No, we are not journalists and we never claim to be. We are however writers and I will take exception to anyone who says we are not. We are writers because we write. We are writers because we love writing, and because we are passionate about sharing it with people. We are writers because we do what all writers do, write things that our readers connect to in some way. No we do not get paid for writing for the Bangor Daily but that does not make us any less dedicated. It does not make what we do any less valuable than a beautiful piece of art before the artist sells it or an incredible photo that a gifted photographer does not charge you for. Whatever each of us does in our professional lives, we are also, without a doubt, writers!
So the bad news is that does mean that on occasion you may get a blogger who is just learning, just honing their craft. We may not always have perfect verb-subject agreement. Please bear with us. However, the good news is that during the day we all work a variety of jobs in fields other than journalism and that has a huge advantage. We are professionals and students. We work in communications, or work as therapists, or run local businesses or teach political science or any other number of professions. We all have a variety of experiences to draw on and all of our styles are vastly different and hopefully entertaining.
It also means that we get to write whatever we want! We don’t have to write what is assigned to us by someone else and we don’t have to adhere to popular trends. We can write whatever the f*ck we want! And they don’t censor us. Nope, see how I added that “f*ck?” Nobody cares! Nobody tells me I can’t. This doesn’t just mean we can be naughty if the mood strikes us, it means we can be passionate, we can write about what moves us. We can write about what we love. We can write about what pisses us off! And you, my dear readers, are the ones who benefit from that!
So when you are browsing the BDN website, or any website for that matter, and you notice an article marked like Hester Prynne in “The Scarlett Letter” make sure you click on it, because behind that giant letter “A” is a lot of life experience, a lot of wisdom, and a story well worth reading!
I am proud of the “Blog” designation next to our work. It says we are rebels, we are renegades. We are the cowboys and cowgirls of the Bangor Daily News! We are uncensored, unregulated, we bring in readers because we are fun, entertaining, and insightful and we do it for free. That’s right baby, we’re giving it away, and we’re damn proud of it!