FACETIME- Going <em>Prospect</em>ing: Bouie leaps into national blogosphere
If your reading leans to the left, you might be familiar with nationally-known bloggers Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and Kate Sheppard who each got started at "Tapped," The American Prospect's group blog. Now, University of Virginia graduate Jamelle Bouie hopes to join their ranks via a Prospect fellowship which he began on July 5.
"Having an outlet for my political opinions," says the self-effacing 23-year-old, "means other people around me don't have to hear me rant about anything."
Bouie, started his own blog, The United States of Jamerica (a play on his first name), in 2007 with a mix of personal thoughts on pop culture and politics. But as the 2008 presidential race heated up, his posts got meatier, and he accumulated readers until, he says, "It spiraled out of control."
After getting his degree in Political and Social Thought and Government in 2009, Bouie spent a year at the Miller Center of Public Affairs as an editorial and marketing assistant. And earlier this year, he moved United States of Jamerica to True/Slant, a publishing platform for entrepreneurial journalists that pays a flat fee plus a bonus based on page views.
In recent posts, Bouie has opined that the Democrats' can avoid a November bloodbath, that firebrand libertarian Rand Paul recently suffered an "epic" failure, and that President Obama's response to the BP oil spill is no Bush/Katrina.
In addition to writing for his own site, Bouie has guest-blogged for Matt Yglesias and Spencer Ackerman, among others.
"If you're a decent blogger, people notice you," says Bouie, whose posts at Feministe caught the attention of American Prospect editor Anne Friedman.
"I've been following Jamelle's work for just about as long as he's been blogging," says Friedman, "and I am thrilled that he is joining the staff."
Bouie– though insisting he's a generalist– says a political blogger needs to be able to analyze lots of text, pick out the key points, and recognize the limits of his or her knowledge. "You probably are wrong about something," he says. "You have to know your limits and be willing to stand corrected."
So what comes next? Bouie, whose opinions rarely admit shades of gray, admits to some uncertainty.
"My options will look wildly different in two years or even a year, so I'm not sure I can make any long-term plans," he says. "I would like to go back to school to get a public policy degree."
While Bouie's knowledge and skills have already taken him far in the volatile and often-acrimonious world of political blogging, he hasn't let success go to head just yet.
"I think it's hilarious that people read me," he says. "I'm just some kid who blogs."