A little less conversation...

Posted by Judy Johnson On Friday, 27 April 2012 10:00 2 comments
...a little more action puh-lease. This year, I decided, is all about doing stuff. It sounds simple but it's not something I'm used to. I have a habit, partly learned from my wonderful parents, of talking about all the things I'd like to do. All the things that will happen in the future 'one day'. But then the future comes and I'm not sure why I haven't done them yet...

I tend to rely on other people to help me make things happen; I'd rather experience something with a friend than on my own, whether it's a holiday, or a film, or a walk or an evening class, so I try to arrange with them - but if it falls through I drop it rather than doing it by myself. And what happens? I wind up disappointed and missing out.

I'm not saying I'm not independent - among my friends I think I'm one of the most independent in that I'll go to places on my own, I don't need babysitting on a night bus to get somewhere and will happily trek across London alone at 4am (sorry mum, don't worry!) and I like to have plenty of my own company. But when it comes to the big stuff, I rarely achieve anything by myself that I can look back on and say woohoo, I did that. (And yes, I actually do say 'woohoo' in real life).

Last year I did a better job of this - I did Spanish by myself and met some great friends because of it; I put myself out there and did a bit of freelancing in the print world which, with the help of a kind and patient editor, I did without issues.

So this year I plan to do it even bigger and better. I'm planning holidays that suit me, not just everyone else. I'm working on the stuff I want to do and that I feel shapes my career, not just anything that comes my way. I'm getting fit slowly but surely, in a way that I enjoy and not how everyone else does. To be awfully cringe-inducingly cheesy, I'm making it happen... I just need to make a list of those 'its' to do...
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Blogger, journalist, writer - what's the difference?

Posted by Judy Johnson On Wednesday, 25 April 2012 22:06 4 comments
When I decided to do media and journalism at uni, it was because I wanted to be a writer. I didn't feel comfortable with the word 'journalist' - somehow, it had become almost a dirty word at the time, associated with the sad stereotype of Lois Lane-esque newspaper reporters who would step over anyone to get a story.

I knew I didn't want to be that kind of journalist, and subconsciously, in my mind I was always going to be a 'writer' - less Lois Lane, more Carrie Bradshaw; maybe becoming an author later on, fingers crossed. Again, this is a stereotype, and a bit of a romanticised one, but one I felt far more at ease with. Thankfully, I was learning at a time when suddenly everything was online.

Web of writing 

Once out of uni, I could see that working in print for one of the glossies I'd grown up reading was unlikely (I couldn't just tweet the editor back then), and applying for remote online roles such as my freelance job reviewing for View London was less intimidating, more attainable, and the kind of thing I could enjoy. It was the equivalent of sending an email instead of making a phone call for me - I felt more confident about it. And so my online career began.

Online journalism has changed things, and blogging has changed them even more. There are so many blogs out there, brilliant blogs full of inspiration, great photos, niche topics, passions for anything from beauty to social media and everything in between. Anyone can set up a blog and  put their thoughts out there. Bloggers can even call themselves 'editors', because given that it's their site, they are. Anyone can be a writer, or as people tend to quip cheerfully while metaphorically stabbing you in the heart, 'everyone's a writer these days'. So where does that leave... writers?

Blogger, writer, journalist?

While it's in part a generational thing, I've found there still seems to be the general misconception that if you write online, you're a blogger, while if you write for print, you're a journalist. When I tell people I'm a journalist, they ask what paper or mag I write for; when I say I'm a writer, they look at me like I must be penniless, whiling away my time in a dark room with a typewriter and endless coffees to try and crack out a novel. If I say I'm an online journalist, I feel like I'm already putting down what I do as less important than traditional journalism - do I need to add the 'online'? Referring to 'my blog', I feel a bit like a spotty student who hasn't made it yet, but when I say 'my website', I think they must imagine a huge online magazine which isn't right either.

Labels don't matter, and I'm certainly not criticising any of the media here because I work online and offline and love it; but in an industry where it literally is not about what you know (qualifications seem to mean less and less) and so much about who you know (name a successful journalist/intern/writer who isn't on Twitter and busily networking) and what you're already doing (successful blog? You might be the next big thing), writing seems to be almost so common that it's not valued as 'journalism' anymore. The web has opened it up to everyone.

Now, there's a new generation - my generation - so full of bloggers and writers that it's hard to see who the next Charlie Brooker, Caitlin Moran or Hadley Freeman is. It's no bad thing that so many people are now writing; but I do worry that the journalism industry is getting a little lost somewhere - not helped by these 'celebrity columnists' who are actually, er, TV presenters and such and are probably taking a job that a trained journalist could do better. Are they journalists too now?

What am I? 

For me, it's not a question of fame, but of originality; my ultimate goal is for people to recognise my writing, to love my writing and to look out for it - how many people can you say that of? I follow hundreds of journalists, but only a couple spring to mind that have a real way with words that no one else has - and yes, I'm including bloggers in that. And no, I don't think I'm one of them!

Label-wise, I'm probably all of the above; I'm a journalist, which I feel more confident in saying thanks to my work in print (there I go again); I'm a blogger, because I'm here and elsewhere doing just that; I'm a writer, in that I write the odd little story (one day a novel, when real inspiration comes); and I'm a copywriter thanks to my main job because it's part editorial, part marketing.

So is there even a difference - are all online writers 'bloggers'? Are bloggers becoming journalists? Are journalists old news? What do you define them as or is a label just a label?




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The Cybher Meet and Greet

Posted by Judy Johnson On Monday, 23 April 2012 23:50 1 comments
As further proof that a) I have awesome friends and b) the ones I've met on Twitter are extra awesome, I am very lucky to be joining the super-chic-geek Emma Cossey in my first ever trip to Cybher in a couple of weeks. 

Emma won the tickets through The High Tea Cast, and knowing that I too was a bit of an online addict, invited me along for the big day. It's basically an all-female, all-blogger geekfest where we get to listen to some talented speakers, learn something, network and say things like 'What's your Twitter handle?' and 'Ooh, nice iPad'. 

Cybher are just so obsessed with the web that they even suggest we do our little 'meet and greet' on our sites as an ice-breaker - so here's a little about me...

Name: Judy Johnson. Not Judy Jay, which I thought was a clever Twitter name which was created by spelling out the initial of my surname. Now people just think it's my actual name, but I'm happy with both. 

Blogs: Obviously I am here on my own site, which is part blog, part portfolio. I also blog every week for Dollymix, and for Wahanda as part of my day job as their Site Editor. Beauty and TV seem to be my favourite subjects but I cover anything that's lifestyle related.

Twitter ID: @judy_jay

Height: 5'10 last time I checked. I don't like to check. Probably 5'11 but that's a scary thought. 

Hair: Rubbish. Natural blonde. Should have been curly, so thank god for tongs. 

Five things you should know about me:

1. I'm 26 and it terrifies me. I'm one of those idiots who grew up thinking somehow I won't really get old, or that if I have to, The Plan will all work out and I'll be married with kids by the age of 30. Turns out I was wrong on both counts! I fully blame Disney, FYI.

2. The nineties rock my world. Boybands, Dreamphone, Clueless... what's not to love?

3. Ibiza is my second home, or so I like to think. I work hard but party hard too. 

4. I hate shoes. Which kind of kills my Carrie Bradshaw image, but hey, the money I'll save can go towards those Ibiza trips. 

5. I am quite well known for my headbands (see crap hair comment). I'm rarely seen without one and I don't think it's a phase I will ever grow out of, much like my love for green eyeshadow which has been going strong since 2002.

Thanks for e-meeting and e-greeting me and I hope to see you at Cybher!

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