Back in June, 20 year-old NPR intern, college radio DJ and West Virginian Emily White unleashed an accidental Internet shitstorm when, three weeks into her internship, she wrote a blog post called “I Never Owned Any Music to Begin With,” in which she confessed that the vast majority of her 11,000 song iTunes collection had been gotten through less-than-legal means. Recently, a writer for Washington City Paper took her record shopping and found out what it’s like to be the most hated person on the Internet. (And what it’s like to share that experience with Amanda Palmer.) Via Washington City Paper:
And so the meme “Hey Internet Girl” was born, thanks to an anonymously run Tumblr compiling real and imaginary “Important Things” Sorkin “has to say to the ladies of the Internet.” (“Hey Internet Girl, America used to be great…before you were born.”) As funny as the blog was, at its core was something contentious and complex: an ongoing battle between old media and new media, with an additional sexist undercurrent, in which value judgments are applied to phenomena for which there is no obvious precedent. Hey Internet Girl, you’re doing it wrong.
But maybe the conversation surrounding #EmilyWhite presents an opportunity. “I think we can learn a lot about modern music from talking to early twenty-somethings about it,” writes Eric Harvey, who’s written extensively about digital media for Pitchfork and teaches communications at Indiana University. (Disclosure: I also write for Pitchfork.) In an email, he says he’s been fascinated by the perspective provided by White’s post and a similarly controversial, Millennial-penned NPR post from this summer in which an intern copped to his ignorance of Public Enemy. But Harvey wishes NPR’s musical braintrust hadn’t “been so Web 2.0 about it, and actually talk[ed] to these kids about their tastes and habits, not just have them cough up a free blog post designed to look like a feature.”
She actually seems like a really nice, genuine, likable young woman, but NPR really does need to keep an eye on what their interns post.