Nikki Wordsmith Blogging and Journalism: Writing for the Internet
Posted On 22/01/2023
‘There is another concept of journalism…It’s engraved on a bronze plaque on the southeast corner of Times Tower in New York City.’
– Hunter S. Thompson
As a sixteen-year-old I became fascinated by the writings of Hunter S. Thompson when I saw Jo Dicks reading a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas under his desk in Mr Kindon’s chemistry class at Millfield School.
It’s no surprise then, that in my application to Cardiff Journalism School I quoted Joseph Pulitzer’s words from the aforementioned ‘bronze plaque’ in its entirety in my covering letter.
John Foscolo who ran the course in the Bute Building at Cardiff, took me on, probably against his better judgement, but ultimately said, ‘Every newsroom needs a Nikki.’
That was generous of him to say so. And perhaps not quite 100% accurate. Much like Hunter S. Thompson, my younger self’s non-conformist attitude always made me feel a little bit like a round peg in a square hole in the trappings of traditional print journalism.
And so it was as a rookie print journalist at the turn of the millennium and into the noughties I found myself surviving the world of print news journalism by writing about human interest stories and the funnies. Not quite what I had in mind – still all a valuable learning experience, as they say.
These days as a freelancer in the Age of the Internet I have the creative freedom to write the way that life happens, that is in my blood and brain. Blogs and journalism – blogalism anyone? – that are exciting and original. The stories keep on developing, have disruptive narratives and are powered with the soaring searching spirit of gonzo.
What is Gonzo Journalism?
Gonzo Journalism is a subgenre of New Journalism championed in the 1960s by writers such as Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Lester Bangs, George Plimpton and Terry Southern. Hunter S. Thompson is credited as the creator of Gonzo, a mind-bending blur of fiction and reality. Hunter felt that objectivity in journalism was a myth. He put himself at the centre of the story and used sarcasm, black humour, surreal exaggeration, social taboos and profanity to get his version of the truth across.
Muhammad Ali once said, ‘My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.’ Hunter said that was as fine a definition of gonzo journalism as anything he’d ever heard.
Blogging + journalism = blogalism
Being a digital content maker in the age of the Internet, has been a god send for me.
My English style of gonzo journalism is more a sober and cuddlier type of writing than the American frontier mentality mixed with the twisted 60s counterculture Hunter was a product of.
Rather than Raoul Duke riding shotgun with Dr. Gonzo in the great red shark Chevy convertible, think more George from the Famous Five.
The mainstream media is deeply flawed. I unashamedly confess, I am an Internet person. The canvas of the infinite information at our fingertips is so exciting.
I find the freedom and fluidity of the Internet an exhilarating place to mix traditional print journalism skills, gonzo spirit and a conscious attempt to neutralise bias, political agendas and get multiple perspectives to shine a light onto all sides story.
Crucially, with no advertising pressures or editorial agendas, and the many other numerous constraints on the story, this allows for more legroom for multiple truths.
And as such, helps keep my writer’s heart in time with Hunter S. Thompson’s original contribution to journalism – to tell it like it is.
Interestingly, Hunter’s main reason for putting himself in the story that is was more honest.
He said there was no objectivity in journalism.
I agree with that idea. In part. Everyone has the right to tell their story. But that doesn’t mean that you have to wholly sacrifice objectivity.
The fact that there is no such thing as a perfect anti-sepsis does not mean that one might as well do brain surgery in a sewer.
– American Economist Robert Solow
Because, do you know what? Anyone can do this. On the Internet there is room for all our stories to be told. In a free and honest as voice as possible.
Yes, the bias is out in the open but it doesn’t mean we can’t strive to channel cleaner points of view.
To me these days, the Internet seems to be the more honest collector and container of knowledge.
The Internet forces freedom into me and my writing that I humbly hope helps produce:
Well researched content
Friendly and conversational style
Jargon-busting plain and simple English
Complicated subjects easier to understand
Topic relevant keywords
Links for old and new algorithms
Here’s some pieces I am particularly proud of:
Artist David Shrigley said my piece on Big Issue Seller Colin Britt at his show How Are You Feeling? was the ‘best of the bunch’. The Muhammad Ali blog about the world’s shortest poem, sits at #1 on Google rankings. If only all politician’s spoke with a Lancashire accent like Sir Lindsay Hoyle the Speak of the House of Commons. And of course, I followed in the footsteps of Hunter S. Thompson himself at The 138th Kentucky Derby.
If you would like an original, uniquely told, well-researched articles, blogs or journalism that people and search engines love, do the write thing and get in touch.
I am a writer from Lancashire.
I spend a lot of my time raising my daughter and hanging out with my family.
I also do my own creative writing and help people who are stuck for words.
That’s it really. Those two things. It’s a nice life.
If you need words, do the write thing, get in touch and hire a writer.