As my last semester as a graduate student winds down, I look back at my blog -- originally an assignment for my online journalism class -- and, I have to say, it's been a blast.
I deliberately did not share this blog with many friends and family. To be honest, I wanted to be able to blog freely and not worry about meeting the expectations of those who already know me. Especially since I chose health and fitness for this blog; it's a very personal subject, and it's not always easy to share your efforts and frustrations to lose weight with the people you see every day, especially if they've never had a weight problem.
I think I have been most surprised to find that people have actually read my blog. With the millions of blogs out there, a few people have actually made their way to Body Recovery and stayed to read and to comment. I thank them.
The readers have been the most rewarding aspect of this blog, including the comments of Dinah and Tess. They've been wonderful about sharing their own weight loss tips and struggles. They have not judged me when I have fallen off the health wagon, and have even had a bit of empathy. It's been wonderful to study health and nutrition in such an accepting and educational environment. I feel like I've learned a lot and have found myself going through my non-Web life thinking about my next post or posting and looking forward to the comments of those reading the blog. From them I have found support and inspiration.
Yet, I also feel that my blog has had a few holes. If I could change anything about the past few months, I would have added more pictures. Originally, I thought that readers would get bored looking at pictures of meals I made, but I think that even pictures of food would have added some visual interest to the page. Although, I have to admit, downloading pictures is one of my least favorite things. I enjoy taking and PhotoShopping pictures, but I truly hate waiting for them to dowload. I think that is part of the reason so many pictures never made it to this blog.
I also wish I had continued my "Produce of the Week" post -- for me and my readers. I enjoyed shopping for new and unusual produce, and I hope some people may have actually discovered a new vegetable or fruit to liven up their healthy diets. Somehow, as the semester got busier, I found myself with less time to search out new produce and relied on grocery store apples and oranges to keep going. Although, I do think my cats were happy to not have to pose with any more bananas on their heads!
Now that the semester is over, will I continue this blog? That's a hard question to answer, and I can only say, for now. As a journalist, I do have to be prepared for the day when writing in this blog may no longer be ethical. I attended a New England Press Association workshop on ethics, presented by Jon Kellogg, executive editor of the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican American. Kellogg brought up the question: Is it ethical for journalists to blog? In essence they're commiting the cardinal sin of journalism in their blogs -- expressing an opinion. Yet, blogs are written in journalists' personal time, off the clock, so to speak.
While there is no right answer, it is certainly an issue that I have to discuss with the editor who hires me. As a journalist, can I get on my blog and blast the FDA for its failure to regulate carcinogens in beauty products? The truth is, I'm just not sure. As a journalist, I must be unbiased. While this blog represent only my personal opinion, I would not want to be seen as biased in any coverage I might do on government agencies. Also, I must consider how my personal opinion could reflect on my employer.
So for now, I blog. In the future ... who knows?