Writing out loud: The beauty of Blogs

Photo courtesy of Pete O'Shea, Flickr

Photo courtesy of Pete O’Shea, Flickr

Witty. Introspective. Moving. Laugh-out-loud funny. The Daily Trojan Blogs are all these things and more, a hybrid of web and log, a form that takes the diary and all its personal, retrospective aspects and meshes it with public immediacy to make an outlet of expression that’s not quite like anything else.

Here, we don’t need to do last-minute cuts for space. In this virtual space of everything but the kitchen sink, it’s more free-form. More spontaneous. More organic. More alive. Now, one semester and two-thirds later, I’ve come to value this evolving literary form more than ever before.

When we first launched Blogs in Spring 2015, it immediately became a natural extension of the paper, something that you look back on and ask yourself why you hadn’t thought of it before. It became a place that captured the experiences of students traversing the world, tracked the everyday college student’s trains of thought, shared recipes concocted on the fly.

Very quickly, I realized this was markedly different from the stories that run in print, particularly in terms of enabling writers to express themselves in ways that more traditional long-form couldn’t. We used to have an opinion blog, Viewpoints, that I envisioned would be a breath of fresh air from the more formal style of editorial. It would be more conversational, less timely in the news it highlighted, and yet, in a sense, more timeless. One writer dedicated an ode to the beauty of Yik Yak, while another sent in a powerful piece responding to critics of First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance at BET’s “Black Girls Rock” special event. The sky’s the limit.

It’s stretched the bounds of creativity, and created a springboard for engaging blog ideas. This semester, things have blossomed. As my co-editor, Emily, and I mentioned at the beginning of the semester in this post, we’ve unraveled four new blogs — Behind the Desk, SC Style, Commas Saves Lives and Trojan Tunes — in addition to continuing with the DeeTs, Troy Meets World, DT Photo Blog, Trojan Timeout and SCrumptious.

But, on top of all that, more has launched into motion. We’ve debuted a weekly advice column, Ask Tiffany, where Tiffany Kuan follows up students’ queries with words of wisdom. For Trojan Tunes, we’ve been looking to start up a Q & A series that’ll give artists on campus the spotlight they deserve. Just this Monday, our new blog series, Love U, went live. Inspired by Modern Love of The New York Times and L.A. Affairs from the Los Angeles Times, Love U runs reader-submitted love stories. The entire newsroom has been head over heels with excitement. It’s the teamwork, from our forty writers to the managing editors, that makes these crazy-great ideas possible. It’s the community built around this blog section, the enthusiasm from our writers and the dedication of our editors that make each post blog-worthy.

The initiative that our bloggers show constitutes nothing short of inspiring. My former editorial columnist, Athanasius Georgy, stepped up to the plate and embodied the meaning of initiative, setting up interviews on his own with notable entrepreneurs and brilliant visionaries such as USC alum, Rick Caruso, and Urth Caffé cofounder, Shallom Berkman. Last semester, Food for Thought columnist Natalie Laczewski churned out recipes and reviews that were such a pleasure to read. When I told her all her posts have been a joy, she said she loved writing for Blogs and joked that if she could, she’d become a full-time blogger.

Bloggers this semester have continued that tradition. #JackieLikesJava columnist Jackie Mayuga approached me with her own idea of setting off on an L.A. coffee shop tour. Following suit, Paulina Ordaz initiated her own series of visits to donut shops around the city, her adventures documented in her biweekly column, Donut Worry, Be Happy. David Wang, a photographer last semester, pushed for a music blog, now brought into reality as Trojan Tunes.

Blogs has now stepped over and become more than just a publication. It’s a broadcast that lives and feeds on the enthusiasm of the bloggers that make up the heart of it. It’s a messy but beautiful compilation that captures campus life as it is in the here and now. It’s writing out loud.

Valerie Yu is a senior majoring in English and biological sciences. She is also blogs editor of the Daily Trojan