Over breakfast, I’ve been perusing Forbe’s list of the most influential women in media. I keep thinking, wow, another news anchor. Another morning show co-host. Another…cooking channel sweetheart turned television goddess. It isn’t a list of the most influential women in media, it’s a list of the most influential women on TV.
Here’s why: the list is generated based on money, fame, audience, and power. Money? When did media become about money? Around the same time it became about the brigade of sleek blondes sharing banter with square-jawed, loose-tounged anchormen in front of a camera. I have an antiquated sense of “media”. That it’s about information, provoking thought (or at least, in its own, roundabout way, encouraging it), reaching out, using the world as a playground. I still think Thomas Friedman was on to something when he wrote about journalists needing to become “information arbiters”, people who don’t create the news but gather it, digest it, and then present it.
Silly me. Clearly what really matters is money and fame. This is a culture of celebrity worship, after all. So I salute all the writers, bloggers, and journalists who did make it onto the list, in spite of it all. I’m particularly pleased to see Dooce on the list–a first-time entry, renowned for her sarcastic and unabashadly honest approach to blogging about family life. She’s a neat 26 on the list, not bad for someone who’s literally built a life for herself, her husband, and her children based, when it comes down to it, on writing. Part of me wants to be jealous of her, but most of me rejoices in the idea that this is, in spite of what it may look like (and indeed what Forbes may have us believe), not an impossible dream.
Dooce (aka Heather Armstrong) on the realities of her livelihood:
“There are days where I sit there and cry myself into a bundle in the corner because either I am blocked and can’t write or there is nothing to write about. I don’t ever get to take a break or go on vacation. If I don’t write for two days in a row, people write to ask if I’m dead.”