“Dear Cityview…” July 19, 2006

Not everything that is written on blogs are about fluff, club scenes, and Court Avenue antics.
Not everything that is written on blogs are about fluff, club scenes, and Court Avenue antics.

When Juice premiered in 2006, there was a lot of criticism about the publication, namely from Cityview Magazine. Cityview spent every week making Juice (and the Register) their personal pinata, attacking them for writing “fluff” pieces and not “hard news” as Cityview stakes their claim to.

The statement below from Cityview’s “Winners and Losers” column propelled me to send a reply back to Cityview…to prove that not everything is “trash” in their eyes…and that they sometimes don’t practice what they preach.

Dear Cityview…

Courtesy of Cityview Magazine, July 19, 2006:

We named The Des Moines Register a “loser” last week for sending its reporters to blog live from concerts. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention The Register’s pubescent progeny, Juice – particularly, its staffers’ stunning ability to continually churn out blogs about absolutely nothing.**

To the staff at Cityview:

Thank you for “reading” my blog (though I doubt you ever have). I hate to tell you this, but not everything comes from a 9-year old’s diary. The last blog post I wrote on Monday was not ripped out of a kid’s coloring book. It was a personal perspective about the slayings of two police officers in 1981 and the impact it had to a city and its citizens 25 years later.

The little girl who writes in her diary never wrote about the suicide of Dr. Stephen Gleason, the comical follies that is Nan Stillans and the Des Moines School District, and whether its cool or not to be a single person in the middle of Iowa.

Alright, I admit that the single person’s point-of-view wasn’t stellar reading.

I know you are offering constructive criticism (if that is the term you use over there) about blogs here on Juice.

Please allow me to explain myself: I don’t need a rival publisher to tell me how bad of a writer I am. I know how bad I am. I don’t have a journalism degree, nor did I attend the Writer’s Workshop at the State University of Iowa. The one positive thing I have learned from blogging is the appreciation for those who are journalists, and those who write or blog for a living.  They’re the ones who bust their asses off daily. I feel it is insulting to call myself a journalist.

I never wrote about getting drunk, acting like a d-bag, and hitting the club scene.
I never wrote about getting drunk, acting like a d-bag, and hitting the club scene.

It’s imperative to get the facts right, check your sources, and write a story that informs your readers as well as gauge their opinions. I thought I was doing that, until you informed me that my work is garbage. That is constructive criticism and I appreciate your magazine for calling it like it is.

I do think it’s fair that I offer the same criticism to you.

I do this for fun and to gauge the interest of what readers want to read or talk about. You do a very good job of that at Cityview. I don’t do your job nor will I insult your intelligence on how to be a writer. My attempt is to write about things that are relevant to us as individuals.

To you, I do a half-assed job of it.

I take it as terms of endearment.

I don’t aspire to be another Marc Hansen, Donald Kaul, Maury White, or Ron Maly. I wouldn’t last 30 seconds in their presence. They’re pros. I’m a schlub. 

If you want to throw a blanket on everyone who write for Juice, that’s your prerogative, but if you don’t read between the lines, there is someone who is trying to do what you expect them to do…

…write and open the lines of discussion on serious and interesting issues that do affect people.

If I’m not doing that, then contact the publishers of the Des Moines Register. I don’t have a “right” to blog, it’s a privilege.

Childish writing is for kids. I’m an adult. I have to write like one.  Just like you. 

Sincerely yours,

Romelle Slaughter


** – Post-script: the concept of “live blogging” at events have become very popular and is used constantly, much to the chagrin of Cityview. To Juice’s credit, they understood it could be a trend that is highly effective today.

The following week, Cityview said that though they were sticking to their statement, they did acknowledged that not everyone at Juice writes “nothing”. Put one up on the scoreboard.

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