Julia Allison on Journalism’s Allure

A professional generalist, Julia Allison was looking for an alternative to lifelong ADD.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What attracted you to journalism? Allison: I became a journalist because I am broadly interested in almost everything but not deeply interested, and so I wanted to learn about just about everything but then I wanted to move on ADD of the month. And so, the combination of my natural proclivity towards that type of breath of learning and the ability to do it anywhere and to do my craft anywhere with New Media and with technology, it’s like crack, really. It’s terribly addictive. That said, I do produce, I co-produce and co-host a web show called TMI Weekly in conjunction with Next New Networks, which does the Obama Girl amongst many other things. The founders of MTV and the founders of Nickelodeon started this company and they want to become the Viacom of the web. And that show is based on New York, so, I am tethered here. We do tape every Tuesday. But other than that I am free to roam and, although, I do write my column for Time Out in New York, I can be anywhere and I have been anywhere written it on my laptop, sitting on the beaches of St. Lucia before. By the way, I wouldn’t recommend that, you should really be focusing on the ocean, but it is, what it’s allowed me to do is really offer my readers a true glimpse into my daily life. And what that does is it breaks down the [fourth] wall which can be very dangerous. It breaks down this [fourth] wall between me and my readers, which is not something that prior to this new technology was possible in journalism. You might have a columnist and people read them for years. My group reading the Chicago Tribune and the same columnist is still there. I mean it’s like the same people. And, you know, you feel like you know them a little bit. This is taking it to a whole new level. And that feeling is something I also saw with Oprah. People believe genuinely, whether they know it or not, although, I do believe that they’re conscious of it with Oprah that she is their friend but she’s not. And that’s what I’m establishing with my live cast as I call it, because I hate the word “blog” and I don’t think it’s indicative of what I do. And sometimes they can be a name the way that looking at a stranger’s family vacation photos is not fun. Sometimes I can understand if, you know, a stranger if they don’t know me, but I have a lot of readers who feel like they’re my friends, so…