Rambling Riff on This Blog's 'Mob Wives' Coverage

The ladies are coming back...

REVISED, SOMEWHAT: Covering "Mob Wives" can be a major headache, but I have to admit, stories I have written about it are among the most popular on this site. Of my top 10 posts, eight have to do with the reality show about those fiery ladies on Staten Island.

From my data, I believe that readers want to know more about the "real" goings on of these women, not just recaps of shows and fluff stories about how great the cast members are. An hour-long Biography episode on each mob wife would do very well, I would wager.

[MafiaLife Chris responds to comments regarding Renee and Mob Candy -- check out: Renee Graziano Launches Own Mob Candy Brand]

I admit it: I am on Drita's team -- but that doesn't
protect her...
I have tried to practice journalism on this blog, which has proven difficult because, unlike in my professional world, my calls and emails are generally not returned. (There is a handful of helpful people who do talk to me -- and I give them great thanks.)

The Mob Wives are not among this group of talkers.

Let's hit rewind and delve into some background to provide context.

I launched Cosa Nostra News before "Mob Wives" was released -- before it had even been announced, I believe -- and I pitched my blog  to The New York Daily News, which at the time was running a daily website devoted to mob news, pulling stories from a handful of blogs; thanks to my pitch, my blog was included. I saw a dramatic leap in readership, needless to say. My blog posts shot up from maybe a hundred or less hits apiece per day to around several thousand -- sometimes up to around 5,000 and up.

Then I wrote my first "Mob Wives" story, Cast Named for VH1's "Mob Wives" Reality Show, and something happened. The story's thrust was to simply identify by name all the mob wives, reveal how they were connected to LCN, and establish what kind of history they had with each other. From various websites, I managed to piece such a story together.

Love Majewski, one of two new
mob wives. Who is no. 2?
The Something That Happened was that my debut "Mob Wives" story got about 40,000 hits on the day I posted it. At first I thought there was some kind of error in my stats, but after carefully looking over the data, I realized it was not an error and that I was on to something.

In search of another story about the show, I took the angle of wondering how TG Graziano, who was Bonanno consiglieri at the time, was reacting to the fact that his own daughters were about to expose what is meant to be a secret society -- Dad Graziano Not Speaking to "Mob Wives" Daughters was the original title -- and to my amazement, the story garnered around the same number of hits. (That story has since been updated, I believe a couple of times, and is now called Dad Graziano Is Speaking to Mob Wives Daughters Despite Rat Pagan.)

But nothing good lasts forever. I gleefully watched my readership grow in exponential leaps -- and sooner rather than later, the Daily News dropped its mob website for some inexplicable reason. At the same time, blogs leaped into being to cover "Mob Wives" and other reality TV shows, while others expanded their coverage to include Jenn Graziano's creation. All this made for a much fiercer competitive landscape. The days of a blog story getting 40,000 hits a day were over, for me anyway.

But I have to be thankful; that constellation of events helped me build a pretty good following relatively quickly, and I am happy with my traffic, which has been steadily growing ever since.


Ramona Rizzo, granddaughter of Bonanno hitter Lefty Two-Guns.
Many mistakenly believe I don't like "Mob Wives" and provide all the negative coverage I can get my hands on, which is as far from truth as one could get. My modus operandi for all blog stories, not just those related to ""Mob Wives," is to find or create exclusive, differentiated content that no other blog has. This can't be done every day, of course, although how I wish it could be, but I managed to find a few sources and was able to work them to the extent that I developed a couple of I think decent exclusives.

Among the most recent: the story in which I broke the news that Miami had been chosen for an expansion of the franchise, and the cast was even in place. Also, I identified in a post that Love Majewski was one of the two new Mob Wives.

(I actually knew the Chicago show was going to get cancelled months before it was officially announced, but having heard it secondhand, I tried to get confirmation from a rather unstable cast member, who had since changed her story and was denying what she had said earlier to others.)

I also got the brilliant idea of trying to confirm my story on Love joining the cast. Through Twitter, I asked "Mob Wives" contacts Jenn Graziano and Love herself whether she was a new mob wife and they both denied it, which compelled me to take the post down. Not a happy time for me; that story had been accruing a large and fast-growing readership.

Jenn and Love could've just told me, Yes, but we don't want the info out right now. Could you please sit on the story for the time being? I would've gladly complied. Ramona Rizzo once made such a request of me, and I did what she asked; she thanked me.

Now I am not going to be so fast to officially confirm a story when I get one because I know who I'm dealing with.

Then, of course, there is the story about Ilpadrina, Renee Graziano, and the Mob Candy brand. I didn't even write the first iteration of the story; it was a pick-up post from Mob Candy magazine's blog, as I clearly indicated. But still, it is startling that so many readers didn't notice the distinction and pilloried me as the writer in an avalanche of comments.

I did, however, rewrite the story once I started developing a theory. Ultimately, I replaced the Mob Candy pick-up with an original post, which I think was tighter and better focused on the issue at hand.

A blog's method is typically an extension of the personality of the person who is writing it. I take a journalism approach, as I noted, but not all blogs do. Some are primarily fanzine-type operations -- and that is fine. To each his or her own. "Mob Wives" has some intensely loyal fans -- so there are quite a few of these types of blogs (which sometimes inadvertently dish up a nugget of what will become a story meant for eventual posting on my blog).

Then there are the blogless "fans" who troll Twitter and FaceBook on seek-and-destroy missions on anyone they consider putting down the wives of mobsters on VH1. These folks make me wonder if the word "fan" was taken from the word "fanatic." Some talk and act like they would go to war against anyone who says anything naughty about their favorite mob wife/wives. I don't know what, if anything, mob wives do to bewitch these people, to so clearly turn them into the show's very own "useful idiots." (I use that term here in its specific political context. As Wikipedia notes: In political jargon, useful idiot is a pejorative term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.)

And anyone can be a Twitter Tough Guy. Usually if you ever get them in a face-to-face on the street, most of these passive-aggressive types will sing a different tune.

As for my approach to blogging... I take my cue from the first big story I ever wrote in my journalism career -- an interview with a famous film director -- earned me this comment from my editor, which I never forgot: "Look up the word hagiography in the dictionary. Now make sure it never again creeps into anything you ever write." I have followed his advice ever since.
The brain behind "Mob Wives," Jenn
Graziano, sister to Renee.

I first decide if a story is interesting enough and has enough detail to merit a post, or a link to a post if it's a published story and not one I am writing myself. One thing I do not do is ask myself: Does this story negatively portray any of the mob wives -- or does it negatively portray any "special" mob wives who have been nice to me and who I don't want to portray negatively for whatever reason...

Everyone gets equal treatment, and sadly, it is just the nature of news business that it's often negative. Why else are newspapers filled with stories about murder, scandal, political infighting, organized crime, etc.? Because it's what is happening, and it's what people want to read.

Also, I am not looking to become friends with any mob wives. I am not against it, I love making friends, but I think it would be insulting to use my blog as a tool to try to make "famous" friends. I am not starstruck... in my career I have written dozens of profiles about celebrities -- Demi Moore, Chaz Palminteri, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, the Coen brothers and many others.... I wrote those profiles for a couple of years, interviewing celebs in upscale hotels and restaurants in Manhattan...Those years inoculated me against becoming a "starstruck" blogger.

And on a final note, Jennifer Graziano should consider all the blog coverage the show gets as testament to her genius as a television producer -- she was able to tap into the American Zeitgeist and give it exactly what it wanted, creating a mega-hit show in the process.

That is no small task, believe you me...

Comments

  1. I love your truth in this post, great job ed :) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, though I wonder if I put too much truth in it!!

      Delete
  2. No, I think u put just the right amount and there is a lot of truth that most would never admitt to in this which seperates the good bloggers from the best bloggers. I enjoyed this post because u kept it more real than many would. Great job :)

    ReplyDelete

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