Justify My Love

As my first semester in the graduate school of journalism comes to a close I find myself at a point of reflection. I feel proud of my successes- and proud to have simply survived.

While I certainly feel that I have refined my journalism skills, moreover I seem to have helped to satiate my undying need to add to my general knowledge of the industry and the society we live in. I have realized the concept of ethics and convergence in the realm of journalism, I’ve interviewed subway musicians, elected officials and people on the streets of East Harlem. Still, I have learned far more from the intellect of my peers and professors, which has driven me to seek more knowledge and formulate opinions on topics that I had never addressed.

I find that I now know a bit less about pop-culture and a lot more about politics. I notice a well-written article, in-depth reporting and an article riddled with bias. And I have come to learn what is respected within the industry – The New York Times, The Washington Post, a good investigative piece … But, a Glamour or Cosmo writer? Well, not so much.

Vanity Fair, ok. Other than that, most women’s magazines or the like seem to be the black sheep of journalism. It is implied that all this work and talent is wasted on such publications. Coming from a British fashion magazine I was somehow surprised to realize this, and truthfully it made me question my aspirations. Am I less of an intellect because of where my interest lies? Upon much introspection, I have firmly decided – no.

It is undeniably a different style of journalism and maybe it won’t earn a Pulitzer. Still, some of the feature articles in these magazines are noteworthy- an assertion that one would only realize if they actually read one. Many an intellect is quick to judge such magazines and would be embarrassed to be caught dead with a Cosmo on her nightstand. The truth is, most of these publications actually aim to empower and encourage women. Critics dismiss this by noting the emphasis on beauty and unattainable stereotypes seen as permeating such magazines. Yet, I see a concerted effort to change this perception within the industry as many magazines attempt to address socially relevant issues in addition to, not solely at the exclusion of, more surface topics.

I reject the common notion that an intelligent, strong female cannot also have an interest in cursory subjects. It ignores the complexity of women - and the fact that we are also often fun and silly and pretty and at times, neurotic. Why is there something wrong with that?

As for me, I will proudly continue to read both Cosmo and The New York Times. And I’ll eagerly take a job from whoever hires me first – if I made it through this semester, someone should!

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