Jazz In The First Person

In the short time that we at NPR have been posting our casual observations and deepest thoughts on jazz, we've created a bit of a ripple in the jazz blogosphere.

Yesterday, we learned that A Blog Supreme is one of five nominees for Blog of The Year, as decided by the Jazz Journalists Association. (Full disclosure, I am a member of the JJA.) Here's the complete list of nominees for the 2010 JJA Jazz Awards. We're all deeply honored, and even a bit reflective.

Funny thing, this blogging.

I say it's a funny thing because my own old-school journalism experience is at odds with the concept of blogging in the first person, as we often do here. Including the pronoun "I" in my writing has been like re-learning life left-handed.

My weekly posts still require researching, interviewing, reading documents and working the phones in preparation. It's the stuff that all journalists do. In fact, that's case for all of your friendly ABS bloggers: Patrick, Lars Gotrich, Mike Katzif, Lara Pellegrinelli, Walter Watson, Tom Cole, the Boss Lady and those to come.

What's slightly different is that now I can insert a thought, observation or opinion — and I don't have to attribute it to a third party. And that creates a certain freedom that I have to admit I'm getting very used to.

I've been listening to jazz and Latin jazz longer than I've been a journalist, so I do have thoughts, observations and opinions about the music. Here, it just goes right in if it's relevant.

When I read the announcement this morning about the nomination, it reminded me that "I" can be a good thing. Others do it, and it seems readers come to expect it in certain forums. I've read the other bloggers who are nominated, and I've seen lots of very good writing about topics that create rich dialogue and exchange in either style.

I've learned that writing about jazz with an occasional first-person reference can be a good thing. After all, jazz fans have been doing it for as long as they've been listening to jazz.

Of course, it used to be called conversation, and we used to do it over drinks in a bar. But that's what we strive for in this space: starting and continuing conversations. I just have to get used to not reaching for a glass every time I have a profound thought.

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