Fourteen Things Bloggers and Broadcasters can Learn from Each Other
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Fourteen Things Bloggers and Broadcasters can Learn from Each Other



For years, I've been jumping back and forth between the worlds of new-fangled bloggers and old-fashioned reporters. Here are some of the things that I think both types of journalists have to learn ...

For years, I've been jumping back and forth between the worlds of new-fangled bloggers and old-fashioned reporters. Here are some of the things that I think both types of journalists have to learn from each other.



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Fourteen Things Bloggers and Broadcasters can Learn from Each Other Fourteen Things Bloggers and Broadcasters can Learn from Each Other Document Transcript

  • BLOGGERS VS BROADCASTERS 14 Things They Can Learn from Each Other Matt Baume Sunday, May 2, 2010 1
  • Blogger vs Broadcaster Sunday, May 2, 2010 2 What's a blogger? What a broadcaster? It depends who you ask. So let's define our terms.
  • “Bloggers” People writing for sites that “do news” Sunday, May 2, 2010 3 For the purposes of this presentation, when I say "blogger," I'm talking about bloggers who "do news." * For example, I've done reporting at SFist, The SF Appeal, NBC Bay Area, Streetsblog, Curbed, and so on.
  • “Broadcaster” Sends information out Doesn’t engage with the audience TV, radio, print Traditional offline media Sunday, May 2, 2010 4 And instead of "old-fashioned journalist," I'm going to use the term "broadcaster." That is, someone who's really good at sending information out, but doesn’t engage in conversation with the audience. A broadcaster could be a TV reporter, a radio reporter, or a print reporter; you can think of them as representing traditional offline media. I've done that type of work myself at places like the Bay Area Reporter.
  • Blogger Vs Broadcaster: Which Is Better? Sunday, May 2, 2010 5 So, blogger vs broadcaster. Which is better? I run a site called “Writers Getting Paid” where I interview writers -- online and offline -- about how they work, and I've seen advantages and disadvantages to both. And they both have a lot that they can learn from each other. I'm going to run through a few of those lessons that I think they should be sharing.
  • What Do Broadcasters Have To Learn From Bloggers? Sunday, May 2, 2010 6 First, what do broadcasters have to learn from bloggers?
  • 1. Use “I.” Be personal, subjective, and human. Have an opinion. Have a smart opinion. Sunday, May 2, 2010 7 Lesson one is the scariest: use the pronoun "I." Be personal. Be subjective. Be human. Having an opinion earns the trust of the audience -- but only if your opinion is smart. Knee-jerk opinions will get you torn apart -- if you take a position, you must be ready to defend yourself from attack, because you will be attacked. A lot.
  • 2. Win Fights. Proves you’re trustworthy. Go for what your audience would consider a win. Sunday, May 2, 2010 8 But that's a good thing! Winning a fight proves that you're trustworthy. You don't have to win in everyone's eyes -- just in the eyes of your audience. Go for what your audience would consider a win. Case in point: SF Weekly and Broke-Ass Stuart had a blog spat last year over whether Stuart owns the term “broke ass.” When the dust settled, nothing was really resolved, but Stuart’s supporters considered him the winner, and the Weekly’s supporters considered them the winner.
  • 3. Market Every Story. Get pageviews Get inbound links from big sites Got linked on SFist Foster relationships Put big sites in your story Sunday, May 2, 2010 9 Grow your audience by marketing each story you write. You'll die without pageviews. Look at related sites with big traffic and ask them to link to your story. * They'll be more likely to do so if you've fostered a relationship with them, and even more so if you mention them in your article.
  • Spend As Much Time Marketing As You Spend Writing. Sunday, May 2, 2010 10 Spend as much time marketing as you spend writing.
  • 4. Correct Transparently. Explain what went wrong Show that you fixed it Sunday, May 2, 2010 11 Correct immediately and transparently. * Don't make mistakes disappear -- it undermines your credibility. Explain what went wrong and show that you fixed it.
  • 5. Participate in Comments. Mandatory Fact-check Sources Contact best ones privately and interview Sunday, May 2, 2010 12 Participating in the comments is mandatory. Commenters can become sources. Pay attention to the good ones, write to them privately, and interview them for your stories whenever you can. If they're interested enough to comment, they may have information you can use.
  • 6. Moderate Comments. Get rid of anonymous Get rid of conversation-dominators Sunday, May 2, 2010 13 Anonymous comments do nothing for you. Get rid of them. Get rid of low-value commenters, too: people who want to dominate every conversation. Send them a warning privately, and if they don't back off, ban them.
  • 7. Link. Mandatory They’ll link back Sunday, May 2, 2010 14 Citing your sources is mandatory online. Link to other sites as much as you can. Your readers will love you for it; and more importantly, other sites will love you for it and will link back.
  • 8. Share. Make it embeddable Creative Commons Walled garden with lots of doors Sunday, May 2, 2010 15 Don't stop sharing there. Make your media embeddable. Creative-commons it so people can remix it and attribute it to you. You can have your walled garden, just make sure it has lots of doors.
  • What Do Bloggers Have To Learn From Broadcasters? Sunday, May 2, 2010 16 That brings me to part two: what bloggers can learn from broadcasters.
  • 1. Own the Story. Become known for the quality of your work. Sunday, May 2, 2010 17 A walled garden can be good if you have a story that’s so exclusive and interesting that you can own it. Become known for the quality of your work.
  • 2. Call Sources. Get quotes Verify Sunday, May 2, 2010 18 Exclusives are great. You can get them by using this thing called the telephone: call sources, ask questions, get a quote. Verify what they're telling you.
  • 3. Call Good Sources. Recognizable names Sunday, May 2, 2010 19 Always call at least one source. They might have an even better story for you to write. Go for the big gets -- the recognizable names. Your readers will be more interested if they know who your source is.
  • 4. Document Everything. Sunday, May 2, 2010 20 Document everything, and keep your documentation. When Mike Huckabee was quoted as comparing the children of gay parents to puppies, he tried to claim that the reporter “grossly distorted” his statement ... but a tape recorder was on the table in front of him, and the reporter was quickly able to post a recording online proving otherwise.
  • 5. Go to the Library. History Center on the 6th floor of the SFPL Bring a laptop and scanner Sunday, May 2, 2010 21 Go to the library. In particular, go to the history center -- it's on the 6th floor of the SFPL -- they've done half your research for you already. Just tell them what you're writing about and they'll pull out folders full of past articles on that topic. Bring a laptop and a scanner because they charge you for using their copier.
  • 6. Be Attractive. Make them want to look at you. Photoshop Sunday, May 2, 2010 22 Be attractive. Your audience will appreciate following someone they they want to sleep with. Get a sexy headshot, then photoshop it to look even sexier. * Because we live in a shallow society, this holds particularly true for women and gays. I wish none of this was the case, but it is.
  • Where Do We Agree? Sunday, May 2, 2010 23 Now that I've covered the differences between bloggers and broadcasters, I want to touch on the areas where they overlap -- often without realizing it.
  • 1. Always be First. Make competition link to you. Sunday, May 2, 2010 24 Always be first with the story. Be the source so everyone links to you.
  • 2. Steal and Append. Make it your own. Sunday, May 2, 2010 25 If you weren't first with the story, just steal it and stick something extra on the end. Now it's yours. When I was researching an article on water, I discovered that in 1998, an Examiner reporter named Lisa Krieger had * lifted large chunks from a Chronicle piece ten years earlier. Journalists copy, and always have.
  • 3. Constant Sifting. Newspapers, Twitter, police scanners, forums, newsletters Ignore the noise. Sunday, May 2, 2010 26 Always be sifting through news sources. Newspapers, twitter, police scanners, forums, newsletters -- sift wide, sift fast, ignore the noise, and focus on the potential stories. * When I write for NBC, I sift about fifteen hundred items every day. Of those, I’ll turn four into articles.
  • 4. You Are Writing a Book. Have a bigger project. You cannot afford to be writing fishwrap. Sunday, May 2, 2010 27 You are writing a book. Each article that you write is like a little grant, a fragment of research for some bigger project. You cannot afford to be writing fishwrap. I was recently asked to write for a blog that pays $10 an article. That’s not an unheard of rate. But think about all the work that goes into an original piece: research, interviews, writing, gathering images, marketing once it’s posted. For $10, you simply can’t generate original news. If you’re going to write posts for $10 or less, and lots of online journalists do, they need to be investments in something that can make you more money down the line. If you write them once and they disappear into the cyber-ether, then you’ve just wasted your time for peanuts.
  • News Is Interesting Sunday, May 2, 2010 28 The way we consume news is changing, but the reason we consume news it is not. News is interesting. People love amazing true stories, and there are a billion amazing true stories to be told. And we can now tell more of those stories than ever before, which means journalistic scarcity is over. But it doesn't mean that value is over, just that it's changed.
  • VALUE = BLOGGERS + BROADCASTERS Old Games on New Platforms Sunday, May 2, 2010 29 And that new value comes from journalists -- bloggers and broadcasters -- who can play the old games on the new platforms.
  • THANKS. Sunday, May 2, 2010 30 Thank you very much.