The Buttry Diary |
That's what Medill master's student Leslie Trew Magraw writes in the research paper that Gene Weingarten mentions in today's column about branding. Magraw gave Steve Buttry permission to post her piece, which was written for Knight Professor of Digital Media Owen Youngman's class. (Read his post: "The meaty sizzle of a 21st century brand.") Some excerpts from Magraw's paper:

You might get pulled into Weingarten’s weird world any number of ways: though his column, his web chats, his comic strip, his features, his books – but any point of entry opens the door to the other “products” he creates – and that deepens many people’s connection with and appreciation for his work. The consistency and variety of what he offers his audience serves to deepen reader’s devotion to his “brand.”

Everyone I polled (and I quizzed more than 25 people and spoke to four others at length), knew who Weingarten was and had a fairly strong opinion of him. Most people had a soft spot for him, at the very least. Others were Gene fanatics – and a small minority thought he was overrated.

This is something that Weingarten has an innate knack for: while he has a clear political ideology and personal agenda, which can be divisive or, at the very least, challenging, he finds a way to tap into the universalities that we all share. He makes fun of people and things – but he’s never (okay, rarely) nasty. He is, at root, deeply humanistic (flaws and all) – and his writing makes us feel more human.

Don't miss Weingarten's response to Buttry's post on the WPer's branding column.