Should Journalists Blog?


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If you are or are going to be a journalist in the 21st Century, you must have a blog as it demonstrates not only your familiarity with new media but also all of your new (and old) media skills: Writing, editing, photography, videography, organization, interviewing, interaction with the public (comments), audio recording (podcasts), etc. Your blog is your one-stop marketing tool for yourself as a professional journalist.

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Should Journalists Blog?

  1. 1. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Why? How? Is that all? Photo by Rogue Sun Media, Flickr
  2. 2. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? I ask job applicants if they have a blog. Most of them don't. Then I ask them if they read my blog. About half of them haven't. The two questions tell me a lot about the candidates:
  3. 3. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? First, if they have a blog, it gives me an indication of their passion for writing and communicating. It also allows me to see how their unedited writing reads. I rarely pay attention to submitted clips; I know how good editing can make a mediocre writer appear positively Halberstamian.
  4. 4. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Finally, in answering the question, they usually let on what they think of blogging and digital. Believe it, some trash blogs.
  5. 5. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? The question about blogs has two purposes: If I can read the candidate's unedited writing and see how they interact with commenters, I can make some judgment about the tone and voice of their writing.
  6. 6. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? It also inevitably leads to a discussion about the candidate's receptivity/embrace of new technology. If they say, "I find blogs to be old school; I prefer Twitter." That tells me something about the candidate.
  7. 7. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? If they say, "I don't blog, but I comment on a bunch of blogs." That tells me something else about the candidate. If they say, "I don't blog but I read a couple dozen blogs," that tells me something else again.
  8. 8. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? And if they say, "I think blogs are a bunch of self-absorbed postings and a waste of time," that tells me something. The answer to these questions are not automatic knockouts. They are like every question should be -- insights into the person who wants to work here.
  9. 9. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? What can journalists do besides bemoan the decline of the newspaper business and fret over the future of journalism? I have a suggestion for every newspaper journalist — start your own blog. TODAY!
  10. 10. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Why Journalists Should Blog: Starting a blog means: * Creating an independent publishing platform (blogging software makes this easy) * Creating a platform for journalism that isn’t dependent on a corporate entity’s financial fortunes * Embracing the power and accepting the responsibility of being a publisher
  11. 11. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Why Journalists Should Blog: * Learning how to use the technologies that are transforming media * Putting your career on a growth track by not defining yourself as a print journalist * Creating an online resume that shows you can do new media * Becoming a node on the new media network — journalism will be networked
  12. 12. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Some journalists already blog for their publications, and all journalists SHOULD blog for their publications. But writing a blog on a publication website is in many ways no different from writing a column — it’s just better software. No, journalists need to start their OWN blogs.
  13. 13. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Publish whatever you can’t publish through other outlets Newspapers have finite space. The web has infinite space (which is a double-edged sword). Use your blog to publish what might otherwise have been left on the cutting room floor, or ideas or information that might not otherwise have an outlet.
  14. 14. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? Check out the independent journalist bloggers on Mathew Ingram, Jeremy Wagstaff, Nicole Stockdale, and Kathleen Chapman and William Hartnett (husband and wife blogging journalists). Learn from journalists already doing it. Learn from journos who blog independently
  15. 15. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? I would add the caveat that it’s important to inform the publications you work for about your “personal” blog. Whether it’s fair or not, drawing the lines between the personal and professional is harder — and therefore more important — for journalists, especially if you blog on the same topic in both places.
  16. 16. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? <ul><li>HOWARD OWENS GOES FURTHER </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have a blog? What's it about? </li></ul><ul><li>2. (a) Can you operate a digital camera; </li></ul><ul><li>(b) have you posted photos to Flickr or other online site? (Negative points for photos showing yourself drunk, or undressed) </li></ul><ul><li>3. (a) Have you shot digital video; </li></ul><ul><li>(b) Have you posted a video on YouTube? </li></ul>
  17. 17. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? <ul><li>How much time do you spend on YouTube? (Minus points if you admit watching at work. Double-minus if you say you never watch. Triple minus if you're lying.) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Are you in a social network such as MySpace or Facebook? (Bonus points for a LinkedIn profile. More bonus points if you'll take part of your salary in Linden dollars.) </li></ul>
  18. 18. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? <ul><li>Do you share links socially? Can you hand-code a link? (Bonus points for contributing to or Digg. Minus points for the TheHun or iXtractor.) </li></ul><ul><li>7. Do you use RSS? Does your blog provide RSS? </li></ul>
  19. 19. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? 8. Do you do texting? (Bonus points if you can touch-type with a cell phone in your pocket or purse. Minus points if you answer &quot;wOOt!&quot; instead of &quot;yes.&quot; Double bonus points if you immediately text yS to my cell or gmail account.)
  20. 20. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? 9. Are you in a Twitter group? (No penalty for saying no. Minus points if you don't know what Twitter is.) 10. Have you created a mashup in Google Maps, Platial, Acme, etc.)?
  21. 21. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BLOG? So, NOW what are YOU going to do?