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Washington Post Article on Travel Blogs

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In Blog we Trust? (Travel Blogs) - Gayle Keck - Open Reply from TravelBlog.org
12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 1 Msg: #836  
B Posts: 5,183
Spotted a new article on travel blogs, here: registration required

Why is it that journalists completely miss the point? - it's happened before - A TRAVEL BLOG IS NOT A TRAVEL GUIDE.

Reviewing travel journals in the same way as one would review a guide book is just plain stupid. Yes, sometimes a journal has very useful, sometimes unique tips and secrets that can't be found anywhere else in the world, in print or on line. But most of the time it's about the blogger and their journal and their experiences.

But the great majority of bloggers are amateurs and, more often than not, training tells.



Yes it does tell, but someone writing a travel blog is not writing to entertain the masses, not paid to be a professional wordsmith - they are writing in the way they feel comfortable - and guess what, the way people communicate varies from place to place. So in a travelblog you will find slang and expressions that are more about where the blogger has come from than where they are.

The information found in a travelblog is much akin to chatting to a stranger in a bar, some are going to be full of it, others will be genuine travel gurus - in a travel blog the personality of the writer shines through, they will have different interests - that you may or may not share - and focus on these things.

If you're a travel novice, graduation is over and you're heading to Europe for the very first time, you won't have any trouble finding guidebook guidance to top spots and beaten-track hotels. But what's it really like to be in a foreign country? Is it, um, foreign? Page through sites like ... and TravelBlog.org for bits of girlfriend-to-girlfriend insight like this:

Yesterday I went to a yoga class. It's so fun to do this kind of stuff in another country, in another language. I went with a girl from Atlanta and we met 2 more American girls. It was fun talking about stuff that we miss and they reminded me about bagels. I didn't even realize that there are no bagels in Spain, can you believe it? It's funny, the stuff you end up missing. . .

-- TravelBlog



Where to find bagels in Spain? Why, it's but the search of a moment on Travel.yahoo.com to find the Bagel Shop in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, where sesame, poppyseed, plain and cinnamon raisin can be found. "The shop is always packed with American tourists, although it is slowly but surely winning over locals."


This insight isn't a request for bagels, it's about the chance meeting of people, finding that they have there country of citizenship in common and chatting about what they miss from home. What the journalist should have taken from the quote is that - when away from home for an extended period it's not just the big obvious things that you miss. I missed many little things as well, I missed chocolate when in the US - I found Hershies very dissappointing and told people, I'm sure I could have found a shop that sold European chocolate if I'd really wanted. It's that kind of insight that you won't get from travel guides, the small pangs of homesickness that you get over small items that you never thought would have ever effected you, that then leave as quickly as they came.

The travelblog quote was from marina

The final verdict on travelblog's came in the form of a table. Here is how travelblog.org came out.

Travelblog www.travelblog.org
Best for those more interested in personal experiences than useful info.
Quick take stylish looking, free, no ads... readers can post comments... some of these inane blogs make us want to scream



I think the research consisted of looking at the front page once - the front page of travelblog is dynamic, changes every 10 mins, looking at the front page once is just a matter of luck - who last wrote and added a photo - might be a pro travel journalist or an 18 year old travel virgin worried about where to find Hershies in England - you never know. And that is the beauty of it - don't spoil it, keep it this way, organic, flowing a mixed bag of personalities, not a competition. When you find a blogger who you appreciate - read on and on - and follow the adventure live, when reading something inane, the back button is just a click away, no one forced you to read! If it gets you to the point of screaming - try demonstrating a small amount of self control, calmly click on a link to a different blogger - or investigate the highlights where some of the most inspiring adventures are shown.

Ps. There are ads - just discreetly placed - unlike just about all the other sites reviewed.

So to finish off - "In Blog we Trust?" - yeah, if you're a dumb ass - try a guide book, yep you know, paper, found in libraries and bookshops. In blogs we wander, like, dislike, scream, laugh out loud, find ourselves amazed at photos and scratch our heads wondering why they even bothered uploading it - and for each and everyone of us what catches our attention will be different - travelblog supplies a way to share the experiences, differences and all. Reply to this

12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 2 Msg: #840  
B Posts: 553
BOOO!! Bad Washington Post! Reply to this

12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 3 Msg: #841  
B Posts: 5,183
> BOOO!! Bad Washington Post!

😊 - Anything more to add? Do yo agree with my acidic reply to this poor innocent journalist? or have I missed the point?

Unlike travelblog - The Washington Post doesn't allow comments - and some of these inane journalists make you want to scream!*

* actually I quite liked the article - it's cool that journalists are talking about this growing trend... but I do think that they miss the point - why don't they review travelblogs from the point of view of the blogger? - how cool it is to be able to share travel experiences with friends, family, and ocassionally get some fan mail 😊 Reply to this

12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 4 Msg: #842  

But the great majority of bloggers are amateurs and, more often than not, training tells.


...
and my first thought was: "And professional journalists don't have to give poper attribution any more for material they quote?" Right, training tells.

It wouldn't have taken a lot of time to check who owns the copyright for blog posts, the poster, or the site (usually the poster, but not at MSN spaces...) and then attribute a quotation to the copyright owner, would it? Don't professional journalists learn how to check for copyright any more?

The behavior I see in this article is enough for me to dismiss it - funny as it is in places - as exactly the kind of "sometimes suspicious, (...), rarely authoritative, (...), often boring" stuff the author rants about.

Reply to this

12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 5 Msg: #843  
B Posts: 5,183
> and my first thought was: "And professional journalists don't have to give poper attribution any more for material they quote?" Right, training tells.

Yep, totally agree - made sure I found the blogger (marina) for posting this.

Another thing - they've completely missed out forums - hundreds of questions and answers given everyday by amateurs and pros in places like this. In fact the whole buzz about blogs is strange - it's not a very big leap from a diary to a blog - and one's been around for thousands of years - the difference is the potential audience - though that never stopped Mr. Peeps.

I think forums are much more of a creative leap - the ability to discuss things like this is new - guess I should shut up as I don't run travelforum.org 😉
Reply to this

12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 6 Msg: #844  
B Posts: 553

😊 - Anything more to add? Do yo agree with my acidic reply to this poor innocent journalist? or have I missed the point?



Nope, spot on old chap. Seriously though, I totally agree. He is the one missing the point here. Overall, the article wasn't terrible, but I don't think he totally grasps the concept. Sure, some blogs to me are boring, I just pass on to the next, or one that I'll find interesting.

Whatever... either way it's publicity. What he said about your site is probably a lot better than not getting mentioned at all. At least you brought it up, and made your rebuttal. Reply to this

12 years ago, December 14th 2004 No: 7 Msg: #845  
B Posts: 5,183

It wouldn't have taken a lot of time to check who owns the copyright for blog posts, the poster, or the site (usually the poster, but not at MSN spaces...) and then attribute a quotation to the copyright owner, would it?



Here - the poster, message at the base of every page - that's the usual place 😉

The behavior I see in this article is enough for me to dismiss it - funny as it is in places - as exactly the kind of "sometimes suspicious, (...), rarely authoritative, (...), often boring" stuff the author rants about.



Harsh! If it wasn't about a subject so close to my heart, I think I would felt the same 😊

> either way it's publicity. What he said about your site is probably a lot better than not getting mentioned at all.

Yep totally right - publicity is good! Couldn't really write an article on travel blogs and miss out travelblog.org though? - ok it has been done 😉
Reply to this

12 years ago, December 16th 2004 No: 8 Msg: #856  
B Posts: 2
hey, marina here..I agree with you guys. I think they just wanted to advertise, that's all.
But if they were really helpful, they should have noticed that I was in Madrid at that time and that a baggle shop in Barcelona wouldn't help me much...but I guess that's the one that they found Reply to this

12 years ago, December 17th 2004 No: 9 Msg: #864  
B Posts: 5,183
> they should have noticed that I was in Madrid at that time and that a baggle shop in Barcelona

Didn't notice that either - but yes not much help at all - sloppy. Reply to this

12 years ago, January 2nd 2005 No: 10 Msg: #946  
B Posts: 455
Gave up reading the article - has this guy ever tried to use the internet before - everything worthwhile is hard to find.... Reply to this

8 years ago, June 16th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #76438  

Why is it that journalists completely miss the point?


The Washington Post lady probably noticed that negativity gets attention, while 'lets all be nice' doesnt.

Here is a quote from a book by Dr John Gray about what happened, during one of his lectures when he was talking about being slated by the media.

Cant find the quote, but it was about a women who stood up during one of his lectures and announced that she is one of the media people who slate people. She said, he should try to be forgiving about it, because if she is too positive, then the newspaper she works for wont accept her articles and if he looks closely he will realise that there are some positive things said amongst the negative.

I suppose, the Washington post people hope that somebody on a site like TravelBlog will complain about their article and the other 100,000+ members of this site will then rush to read the article and a lenghty discussion defending their rights to be amateur writers while quoting from and linking to the Washington Post site will follow.

Maybe this tactic would also bring more visitors to TravelBlog. A 'made you look' thread on other sites about what provocative things the evil people of TravelBlog are saying might bring more visitors than a 'I like TravelBlog, and some other sites too' thread. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 16th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #76439  

.....if he looks closely he will realise that there are some positive things said amongst the negative.


UMM!!! What positive?

TravelBlog and a number of other top travel sites where mentioned in an article by a popular news body. The insults surely hurt a lot less than being excluded from a list such as that one. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 16th 2009 No: 13 Msg: #76442  
B Posts: 5,183
Forum post from 2004!

Anyways - just google'd Gayle Keck - http://www.gaylekeck.com/ - her website is shocking and she's only been to 35 countries. That's what I call amateur 😉 Reply to this

8 years ago, June 16th 2009 No: 14 Msg: #76445  
And about the bloggers she insulted: Anybody can insult people.

I think Gayles article in the Washington Post is just mindless bitching, though the grammar and punctuation seems accurate. Well, I admit that I didnt read it all actually because I got bored. See, even an amateur writer like I am can insult people. Could I do better if I was a professional journalist. No! I could come up with better insults, if I found doing things like that worth while in some way.

Anyways - just google'd Gayle Keck


If she has one of those things that alerts her when she is being mentioned on the internet, wonder what she will think when she discovers that TravelBloggers are still holding a grudge since ''Forum post from 2004!'' 😉
Reply to this

8 years ago, June 16th 2009 No: 15 Msg: #76460  
B Posts: 5,183
I think the thing that irked me most regarding this article is that she basically pulled quotes from peoples blogs - written on the road at the time for friends and family.

I'm sure if I could see her website - I could easily trawl through her drivel and find inane sections to quote out of context that would make her look like an idiot.

The difference being - I'm not paid to do it - and the results wouldn't be placed in a high profile newspaper. Journalists like her give the profession a bad name - that's assuming she's still employed.
Reply to this

8 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #76501  
B Posts: 2
Wow! What a blast from the past! It definitely wasn't a nice thing to do, to pull quotes from my blog without asking. I am still holding a little bit of a grudge😊

Ali, happy to see that you're still traveling. Good for you! Reply to this

8 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #76548  
I dont know how I would feel if somebody quoted like that from one of my blogs. I think I would just roll eyes and dismiss it, but easy to say that when it wasnt me it happened to.....

At least it didnt put you off blogging Marina. 😊 Reply to this

8 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #76696  
Good on you Marina for continuing to stay with Travelblog after this episode!

I think Ali's observation in message #15 is very valid - it is easy to pull a sentence or two from anybody's blog - regardless of how good the blog is - and distort the overall feel within the blog.

I think that the main aspect that Gayle Keck misses about travel blogging is that it is NOT travel journalism, and it is not intended to be. People write blogs to inform those near and dear (and a few interested outsiders) what they are doing - they are stories of people's experiences, and rarely contain information considered necessary by journalists - how much are costs, where to stay, where to eat and the like.

I really think that the condescending tone through parts of this article is a bit rich when it comes from someone who travels mostly appear to be to the more standard destinations and they talk about such genteel subjects as the food on your plate, learning to tango, or enjoying a massage - though I give her points for visiting South African townships. I would love to see how she would handle travelling along a dusty, pot-holed road in an African public bus and you are the only foreigner on board, or plunging into a seething mass of ardent worshipers in a tightly packed Indian temple.

I really thought a journalist should be encouraging people to write and express their feelings and to discover the beauty of the written word. But maybe the undertone here is that people should only read travels articles and stories written by those with university degrees in journalism. I am sure you can guess my response to this proposition. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 18th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #76784  

I really thought a journalist should be encouraging people to write and express their feelings and to discover the beauty of the written word.


This is presuming that all journalists are writing for honourable reasons only. Some are clearly just paycheck wh*res. 😉
Reply to this

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