Recently, while discussing my job at Odyssey at OSU, a friend asked me this question: "Do your writers actually write articles, or are they, like, blog posts?" This question seems to come up a lot; it's probably because there has been a huge surge in personal essay-style journalism.
I find this question to be somewhat offensive because it seems that individuals who ask me this question are the type to consider this style of journalism unimportant or less valuable than traditional journalism. Additionally, these people tend to consider articles written in this way to be unworthy of their time. I would argue that if these individuals took the time to consider the positive impact of sharing personal narratives, they might reconsider their opinions.
It's probably important that I mention that I do not find blog posts to be invaluable in any way. Rather, I acknowledge that they are quite different than other styles of writing and therefore deserve their own category.
I believe that personal essays are just as important as news articles. They allow authors to develop and idea and investigate it, in depth, through writing. Moreover, articles written in this way are able to delve into personal issues and discuss them from any perspective; they need not be written impartially. These articles are, in my opinion, the best way to tackle discussions about topics like sexual assault and self-love, issues that involve strong opinions and compassion.
Again, this style of journalism is, indeed, journalism. It simply follows a different format. The advantage of this style is that it allows writers to investigate their life experiences and make those experiences accessible to their readers. Frankly, I find that personal essay-style journalism is crucial. These articles are intimate and they keep us connected. Today, there is an article written in this style on nearly every subject, which gives us the opportunity to find advice and comfort in the words of others. More so, it gives writers the chance to heal from difficult issues through their writing. It allows them to create their own narrative and to share that narrative with the world.
So these articles aren't sharp, informative, easily-digested paragraphs found in the pages of popular newspapers. However, they are just as important. They are just as valuable.