By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Did you know that you can simply blackmail me if you want me to do something?
Well, I’m exaggerating. Just challenge me.
A while ago, someone came to us with a proposal. This person wanted to blog for Northwest Asian Weekly and get compensated for it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford a blogger. This person notified us that the same service would also be offered to our competitors. I had been on the fence about whether to take on a blog myself. So I would like to thank the blog proposer because this person sped up my decision-making process.
As a result, my blog was unexpectedly born a month ago.
You know, there are many people who threaten to take good stuff to our competitors. Though many folks play this trick, we don’t take it personally. Our friends know that this could backfire on them. Similarly, sources sometimes threaten us to write their story. If we don’t, he or she would take the story somewhere else.
“You go right ahead,” my staff would instantly respond. Before you think that this is a sign of our arrogance, you have to understand that most of the time, we don’t ask for exclusive stories. We understand that our paper doesn’t have the biggest circulation and some stories are better off having a wide range of coverage by different media.
After all, this is a free country and people can do what they want. For us, there is a big difference between pushing beyond the line and pushing at the line. Many people assume that giving ultimatums will bring results.
It doesn’t work on us.
“Mom, you should start a blog,” my son suggested last year.
“What’s a blog?” I turned to my husband who is also my technology consultant.
Instead of explaining it to me, he responded with, “What’s the difference between a blog and readers e-mailing us?” He was wondering if blogging was redundant.
“How is a blog different from the letters to the editor?” I wondered.
Though we don’t belong to another planet, we obviously belong to another generation. Not only did we not know what blogging was, we also don’t carry Blackberries, iPods, or iPhones. I don’t use Facebook, either.
I must confess, I lost my cell phone two weeks ago — when a woman changes purses, things disappear — yet, I’ve managed to survive.
At first, the idea of writing a regular blog sounded overwhelming. My worst fear in having a blog is that I might fail to keep up with it. What if I run out of topics to write about?
It is fashionable for ordinary people to blog or use Twitter these days. Newspapers often hire full-time bloggers. We cannot afford such luxuries. We are thinly staffed and have to multitask every day.
As the publisher, I oversee both of the newspapers’ editorials, their advertising, and their marketing. I must be nuts to blog and create another commitment with deadlines for myself.
However, what lies underneath my skin is a desire to experiment and test out new ideas. Who would be more suited to blog for the paper than me? I am not trying to be conceited, but opportunities to meet remarkable people and visit unusual places seem to meander on my doorstep every day.
As a publisher, I am privileged in many ways. Just look at the invitations I get from people who want to network with us. This is good material for a blog. We connect people, ideas, and causes. We make things happen and change the lives of many. This excites me.
It’s now my duty to share, critique, condemn, praise, and join in the sea of other bloggers.
Finding the time
No, I don’t really have the time. Then why do I do it? My passion compensates for my lack of time and fear of commitment.
Remember, if you can’t change the world, change yourself. I convinced myself that a blog would be like my personal journal. It documents the excitement and drama of the Asian community.
I can share my thoughts and emotions with thousands of people who visit our website. It provides a window to our weekly dealings with both the Asian and mainstream communities, a bridge to bring the two closer together.
This blog is similar to my old column “This n’ that” which I started in the 1980s. It dealt with the interesting local subjects in the Asian Weekly. The column ended in the 1990s as I got burnt out.
Some longtime readers still reminisce about the good old days, while others have indicated that they hated some of the tidbits I featured every week. The impact is still there.
A quiet debut
When I told my editor Stacy Nguyen that I would be the one to take on the job, she never forced me to set a schedule. She has been supportive.
Perhaps, she knows that I don’t get extra pay for doing it, or she’s saving herself from work because it’s one less thing for her to look over.
I have definitely saved the company lots of money as a result.
On July 13, words just flowed out of my body like a fierce waterfall.
Without fanfare, it became my first blog post. There was no prior announcement in the Asian Weekly. When I make up my mind, I just do it.
This week, I am supposed to take a week off from the blog to go to San Juan Islands. Little did I know that I would get sick. In the midst of having a sore throat and coughing, inspiration rose. My fingers hit the keyboard and it could not keep up fast enough with my brain. There’s no fear in my heart, just determination and joy. Blogging had cured my coughing, almost. How weird! ♦
Visit Assunta Ng’s blog on www.nwasianweekly.com under the Opinion section.
Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.