By Chloe Lister
Seated at her computer, Jessica Yorkin ’11 opens a new document and begins to tap away at her keyboard. She’s not working on any English paper or history project; Yorkin is working on a post for the Huffington Post, the online newspaper for which she blogs.
“I’ve never targeted journalism in particular as an interest of mine, but I’ve always loved to write,” Yorkin said. “I’ve kept a diary every day of my life since I was 6, and I’m always composing songs, formulating screenplays, and writing poems. I think my love for reading inspires me to write — I manage to read novels outside of school. [Writing is] very fulfilling. So when I look back on my high school experience, I can be proud of at least one good thing I’ve done consistently.”
Yorkin approached the Huffington Post about blogging after noticing that there were not very many young writers on the website’s staff; she submitted a blog she had written, and it was approved to be posted online.
“I wanted to address some topics that I thought were relevant to a younger audience,” Yorkin said.
Yorkin’s first post was about college applications, and the chaos that surrounds the process.
“I knew I wanted to write about college because a teen’s perspective on the entire application process could be very different from an adult’s,” Yorkin said. “I’d accumulated some ridiculous stories and humorous anecdotes from friends that could really shed a light on just how overwhelming it can be to apply.”
Yorkin has additionally written about “technology’s affect on genuine conversation.”
“I plan to write a lot more of these in the next few months as well as during the summer because every day I get new ideas,” Yorkin said.
Marissa Lepor ’12 is a fashion blogger for the Huffington Post.
Her interest in fashion blogging started last summer, but she was unsure about how she should begin one. Then, earlier this year, her father informed her that he had met someone from the Huffington Post who might be interested in her blogs. Lepor contacted the newspaper’s fashion editor and ran the idea for her first post by her.
Her first post, which she wrote during first period at school one day, was submitted to the Huffington Post and promptly published. Her article discussed her philosophy about getting dressed in the morning, entitled “Three Minutes, Three Steps, One Decision.” In her blog, she says it should never take her more than three minutes to get dressed.
Lepor has written one other article for the Huffington Post giving advice to keep in mind when purchasing a pair of jeans.
“I just think, and then I write,” Lepor said. “I guess [blogging is] kind of like painting in that you picture how you want it in your head, and then at the end you either have what you pictured or something completely different.”
Both writers are largely uncensored in what they write.
“Before an article is published, it’s submitted through the Huff Post’s ‘backstage’ area, where it remains pending until approved,” Yorkin said. “Basically writers have full control over their submissions and can choose to cover anything they wish — assuming the topic is appropriate and their piece is well-constructed and has some sort of message.”
Anders Villalta ’12 also blogs; however, he has his own personal blog where his only editor is himself.
“It’s been a refreshing outlet for my angsty, torturous teen years,” Villalta said.
“I post pictures, my own art, some poetry and creative writing, interesting thoughts I have, dreams, things in other languages, song lyrics and random things I am mad or happy about,” Villalta said. “There’s no theme, except the theme of my life. Consequently, there’s a lot of art, photos and creative writing on there.”
Villalta said that he has no qualms about these details of his life being out on the internet for anyone to read. He said he’s always surprised when people mention that they read his blog.
Villalta said that for him, his blog is like a diary that lets him look back on important parts of his life.
“When I was a kid, I used to try to keep a journal,” he said. “It would never work. I always stopped writing a few weeks in. When I look at my blog archive, I can go to any specific day and see what I was thinking about, or what I was doing, and in some cases, what I took pictures of. It’s like a personal time machine in a way. My blog is more for me than it is for anybody else.”
Villalta also keeps a blog where he only posts art pieces that he has created.
“My art blog isn’t really a ‘blog’,” Villalta said. “It’s more of a portfolio of some of my work. I post the pictures just to keep them in one place that I can access from any computer. That way, I can show my art to anyone if they want to see it.”