Interview with Eve Tushnet

Eve Tushnet is a freelance journalist in Washington, DC. She has written for the National Catholic Register, National Review, the New York Post, and USA Today, among other publications. She has also published fiction. She blogs on religious and cultural topics, and assorted randomness.

Simon Owens: Do you think that the political blogging world is more vitriolic than other forms of political media?

Eve Tushnet: I’m not sure comparisons really work here, because the numbers are so different–compare the number of blogs to the number of talk radio stations, for example. The parts of the political blogosphere I frequent are much, much less obnoxious than e.g. “The O’Reilly Factor”; but that’s self-selection, and I have no idea what a real comparison would look like.

Simon Owens: As someone has worked with non-blogging journalism, which form of media do you prefer? What are some of the key differences between writing blog posts and writing articles for magazines?

Eve Tushnet: No preference. There are some things I couldn’t do at the length or with the rigor required for journalism (for example, I’m thinking about a post on reading ANNA KARENINA, and that is just too non-topical, scattershot, and tentative for cultural journalism). But there are other subjects where the formal constraints of journalism are really helpful–it’s a different genre, with different conventions. Plus, for reporting, it is VERY VERY helpful to be able to say, “I’m working on a story for National Review.” You can’t really open doors by saying, “I’m working on a post for this random blog you’ve never heard of.”

Simon Owens: Do you think political blogs provides a checks and balance system on the Mainstream Media to make sure they get their facts straight?

Eve Tushnet: No idea. I think on some level they must; but there’s a high noise-to-signal ratio, probably.

Simon Owens: Do you tend to discuss whatever topic is popular in the blogging world for the moment, or do you look for the overlooked stories?

Eve Tushnet: Neither really. I have a few subjects I tend to return to (gay Catholic stuff, for example), but mostly I just yap about whatever happens to catch my interest and on which I think I might be able to say something useful.

Simon Owens: How do you go about finding the material you blog about?

Eve Tushnet: It followed me home, so I kept it. …In other words, more or less at random. Sometimes it’s what I’m reading, sometimes it’s someone else’s blog post, sometimes it’s a conversation I had with a friend. That kind of thing.

Simon Owens: Has the political blogosphere become too saturated, making it harder and harder for new political bloggers to become more popular?

Eve Tushnet: Second part: definitely. It’s much harder to “break in” now. I mean, I’m on Instapundit’s blogroll–there is simply NO WAY that would have happened if I’d started blogging a year after I did.

First part: From a political perspective, I’m unconvinced that you can ever have too much yapping (what the philosophers call “discourse”…). From a spiritual perspective, I should turn the computer off much more than I do.

Simon Owens: What are the five blogs you’d recommend to supplement the reading of your own?

Eve Tushnet: Well, it REALLY depends on why you are reading my blog in the first place–book/movie reviews? Catholic stuff? The political or philosophical stuff I used to post, and rarely post now? But here’s a tentative and fairly random list:

Amy Welborn a.k.a. the Catholic Blog Queen
Family Scholars
MarriageDebate
Dreadnought
WaiterRant

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