Lay of the Land

7 Apr

At the Lay of the Land conference last week, I was impressed by how so many types of people with all different interests have made careers out of blogging.

It was interesting to talk with Kevin Roderick, the chief editor creator of LA Observed blog, before the lecture and hear his thoughts as a newcomer to the new media world. “The transitional guy,” as he called himself, has experienced every milestone in journalism, starting out as a reporter then slowly making the transition to editor, then writer, then blog reader, and finally blogger.

I especially appreciated Roderick’s hint at optimism during his talk. While most critics of the industry say that there is little career opportunity left in journalism anymore, Roderick takes a completely different stance. He described how journalism and new media is nothing but opportunity. The advent of blogging has given journalists the option and ability to be creative with their writing, and Roderick is a living, breathing example of this.

While Roderick mostly sticks to news stories covering L.A. on his blog, Cindy Mosqueda takes a different approach with her blog, Loteria Chicana. Mosqueda blogs mostly about her personal experiences, but will occasionally relate her blogs to things pertaining to Chicanos in L.A., for example a blog about Caesar Chavez Day. What’s great about blogging, says Mosqueda, is that there is no editor telling you what to do or what to write about—it’s all up to you to choose your topics and take whatever stance you want.

I especially liked the advice she gave about sticking to storytelling. Like Mosqueda, I also find that when I’m blogging about a personal story that I’m more connected to, I am more likely to write passionately and produce a more interesting blog post.

Juan Divas, part of KCET’s “Departures” blog, also spoke on how new media, particularly mapping, has shaped the way we look at the city of L.A. Through videos and mapping, “Departures”
has been able to tell the history of Los Angeles in a way that it has never been told before.

On the other of the spectrum was Kyle Depinna, the co-creator of the music blog Shifty Rhythms. This speaker really inspired me, because not only is Depinna (aka The KiD) a successful blogger and D.J., but he is also a senior at LMU, just one year older than me. It is crazy to think that such a  thriving blog could be born out of a college dorm room by two college guys who simply had a passion for music.

It made me think of how many people who started up their own blogs or websites just for fun, like Roderick and Depinna, and then turned their hobbies into their businesses. I think this not only proves Roderick’s point that new media is filled with all sorts of opportunity, but it gives hope to all the aspiring journalists like me, as well.

Here are some of the panelists’ thoughts about the Lay of the Land conference from their own blogs:

Loteria Chicana

La Observed


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