January 17, 2011

Getting Down With the Jezebel, A Tracie Egan Morrissey Interview

Tracie Egan Morrissey is the ultimate head bitch in charge. Starting her blogging career with tales of the sexual exploits she was experiencing in New York City with, One D at a Time, she quickly rose to prominent status throughout the blogosphere. Her career took off when Gawker hired her for their prominent feminist blog, Jezebel. Building on that success, she started a vlog series with her friend Rich Juzwiak entitled, Pot Psychology where they give advice high. Over the past couple of years she has experienced wonderful success from getting married to landing a book deal with the vlog series. I recently had the pleasure to discuss all of this with her.

Before beginning career in blogging Tracie had an interesting side job.

How did you get your writing children’s books job and how long did you have it for?

Well I was working at the circa women magazine, Bust and I had really wanted to work there forever and I had been an intern since it was a zine. But, I needed to do something on the side to afford living in New York City, so I had some friends involved with urban publishing. It was a special market for kids who had trouble reading, the age range was, like, kids in seventh grade but I had to write on a third grade level. They were also over topics I had no idea about, like “Weapons of Mass Destruction in North Korea” so it was an interesting experience.

You’re considerably different than Slut Machine. Do you feel that since you’ve gotten married you are now trying to rebuild a blogging identity?

I mean I’m still the same. The first blog made me look crazier than I was because it was this tiny facet of my life being magnified. Undeniably it was apart of who I was. I got bored exploring that aspect of my life right around the time that I got married. I’ve felt like if I just kept trying to keep it going it would be false. But, I don’t think I’ve really changed, I’ve just matured from that time period. Also, typepad was a pain in the ass, and tumblr is so much easier with all the buttons. I just wanted an escape from Jezebel and have a different release.

How many posts a day do you do, the time it takes to: research/write/edit?

I think, I used to do way more posts a day. In the beginning there was less money and more people working. I now do fewer posts a day but with a lot more work put in. On average I do five posts and it all depends on how much media I have in it. For instance, a Jersey Shore recap is 3 or 4 hours, and a majority of that is with media. The “10 Things You Missed On TV” takes forever, because I’m watching TV all week and then I compile it all together on a Friday, and it takes around ten hours.

Gawker was recently hacked, how has it affected you personally, did you recover anything lost…etc?

It affected me in no way at all. The only thing I had to do was change a couple of passwords, which was annoying but also helpful since I forgot a few. I don’t use the same password for everything. Its stupid if you do. At Jezebel we don’t use campfire, like Gawker does it’s this group IM that they use and I just think they hacked into that. I also don’t think we were a target since they probably thought we were dumb girls.

What’s the dynamic of the Jezebel staff like? Is it hard not being in an actual office together?

Gawker does have an office that they want us to come in and use when the place is finally finished for about three days a week. I don’t like it all, but some of the girls come especially the ones who don’t have air conditioning during the summer. I’ve honestly been once in four years to work, but we have our editorials meetings and staff parties of the sort. Dodai and I have been there the longest now there and we get along so well because we have so much in common.

Would you ever make Pot Psychology a television show?

I don’t know if we were ever to make a pot psychology TV show, but I would like to do a DVD. We were offered a book deal awhile back, and we turned it down, because it would be hard to do it. But then we got offered again and just figured out what we should do. But, I wouldn’t mind a DVD thing though. I’m happy to do the book, I’m definitely happy about the money.

Do you ever get contacted about the reality stars you write about?

Parents have contacted me from Toddlers and Tiaras and they actually like it. But, people who are on reality TV like the attention though so it’s not that big of a deal. The only time I was scared was when I had to interview Caroline Manzo at fashion week. And we had just said some shit about her. Though stars like Jill Zarin of Real Housewives of New York City loves what we write even if we do say shit about her.

What do you think of blogging being taught in schools now?

My last year of school I took a course called online journalism. They told us we would never get jobs the field and this was like right at the dotcom boom. They also told us if we ever got a check from these company that we had to cash the check fast. And that’s why I got into magazine. But now how stupid were they? The future of journalism is on the internet now. If you want to get a job after college, you have to know how to use the internet. You have to know to html and photoshop to be efficient in both of those to get ahead.

What would be some good advice on dealing with staff issues?

People will listen to you more if you’re not offensive. Because ive been so pentiglent in the past. Its so hard not chewing out. If he doesn’t know the difference between a transsexual and a lesbian then he needs to learn it; maybe learning with pictures. But also, I wouldn’t tip toe around what you think about the work. Especially if you have to do this as a job, and then when its associated with your work as well, and you don’t want to be associated with someone that sucks.

She probably gave me some of the best advice I'd ever have!

What would be your best advice for someone getting into the field?

Well, I would say that the way that I did it, from making a transition from magazine to blogging is probably a really good way. Just start your own blog and write what you know. I wrote what I knew and what I could do to get my attention. It’s also salacious, because if it’s not going to get attention then you aren’t going to get hired. And my blog did that with Gawker. You should also work really hard first and foremost on your own projects and hopefully it will all work out. At the same time, I would probably suggest someone move to a bigger city, because that’s where the media companies are and it would just be easier to meet these people and to show them your work.


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