Articles about "Blogging"


Andy Boyle to news sites: Stop differentiating between blogs and articles

“It’s time to stop bifurcating your content as blogs and news because they run on separate systems. It is all content, so why not call it that? Even if you have outside people writing posts on your website that are unmoderated by your staff — that’s still content that’s part of your media outlet’s website. …

“If it’s opinion content, call it that. If it’s news content, great! That’s what it is. Start thinking of it all as content as opposed to ‘this is a blog post’ and ‘this is a news story.’ If you copied a news story and pasted it into a blog post, DOES IT SOMEHOW CHANGE? No. It does not.”

Andy Boyle

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Bradshaw: Don’t assume journalists have more training than bloggers in truth-telling

Online Journalism Blog
In a post about whether the blogosphere is less accurate than “proper” journalism, Paul Bradshaw writes that it’s a mistake to assume that professional journalists have more training in truth-telling than bloggers. He argues that people don’t need to be trained to tell the truth:

Journalism training consists, if we’re honest I think, of taking ‘the truth’ – which can be complex, boring, and confusing, and showing how to turn that into a story – simple, interesting (through, for example, focusing on a ‘conflict’, even where that may not be as important as portrayed) and clear.

As journalists we know that the truth is often more complicated than we represent it, so we cannot accuse bloggers of being generically unreliable without acknowledging that our own methods have flaws too.

The opportunity in online journalism – whether by professionals or amateurs – is to better represent that complexity, through linking to more detail (full interviews or raw footage, original documents, complete data) or providing for interactivity (how the story affects their postcode, family, or school; experiencing how a process works).

Related: Trayvon Martin story reveals new tools of media power, justice (Poynter) || Earlier: ChicagoNow blogger says Tribune journalists ‘stealing’ ideas from blogs without credit (Poynter) | Is tech blogging over, or entering a new golden age? (Poynter) Read more

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ChicagoNow blogger says Tribune journalists ‘stealing’ ideas from blogs without credit

ChicagoNow
Jenna Myers Karvunidis says the Chicago Tribune and its Red Eye commuter paper seem to be “stealing scoops” from her and other amateur bloggers on the Tribune-owned ChicagoNow site. She cites examples where she or other bloggers wrote about unique topics or ideas, only to have similar pieces appear in the professional publications shortly after with no credit to the blogger. “Is this lazy journalism on the part of traditional media, or the ultimate flattery of bloggers? Or both?” she writes. || Related: New Nielsen data shows millions more blogs and blog readers, led by young moms (Nielsen Wire) | Local community blogs are producing news and civic engagement as news orgs shrink (Guardian) Read more

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blog

8 keys to creating, growing blogs within a news website

It’s not easy to craft a strategy for starting and growing blogs on a news website. But it is important. Blogs can be a magnet to attract a loyal audience around the most important subjects, and can improve the whole site around them.

I talked with Megan Liberman, The New York Times’ deputy news editor for blog development, who tangles with these issues every day, to help identify these eight keys to starting the right blogs and growing them harmoniously on a news site.

When to create a blog

Blogs can be about anything, written by anyone. Where do you begin?

There are at least two essential ingredients for a good news website blog. The first one is Voice. You need the right kind of writer.

“Blogging is not [just] reporting… Blogs are not just news feeds. They do have to have more of an identity than that,” Liberman said. “There may be people who are great journalists and great reporters and even great writers, where blogging is less natural for them.”

One of the blogging format’s founding fathers, Dave Winer, described blogging most fundamentally as “the unedited voice of a person.” Of course some blog copy could use a second set of eyes, but the writing should carry the personal viewpoint or the authentic voice of an author.

A good blog author believes she has something important to say and a notion of how best to say it.

Some blogs, like The Times’ Bits and Dealbook, for example, may have multiple contributing authors. Even in those cases, it helps to have one leading personality (Andrew Ross Sorkin on Dealbook and Nick Bilton on Bits) setting the tone, Liberman said.

The New York Times has dozens of blogs hosted on its website.

The second key ingredient for a news website blog is the right content niche. The sweet spot is to blog on a topic that the audience and the editors agree deserves more exploration, while trying not to duplicate the traditional news coverage already on the site.

For example, Dealbook focuses on corporate mergers & acquisitions and other Wall Street news, a subset of the broader Business category on the Times site. FiveThirtyEight focuses on polling and the statistical side of politics, a subset of the overall Politics category. Other blogs hit narrow niches like war reporting, India, Hollywood awards, parenting, the elderly or college admissions.

A few blogs, however, do serve more mainstream subjects like The Caucus (politics & government) or Bits (technology). Those overlap quite a bit with the Times other news articles on politics and technology, but that’s not a dealbreaker because blogs can serve different purposes than news articles.

Three advantages of a blog for news coverage

What do blogs give you that the rest of the news site doesn’t?

Speed in delivering breaking news is one advantage. Blogs are nimble and can get news up and out faster. Some sites, like the L.A. Times even create a breaking-news blog to report developing news as quickly as possible.

Blogs also create a gathering point for online community. Readers build stronger ties — with the author, the subject matter and each other — in a blog than they do with the broader site. They bookmark the blog, or subscribe to feeds.

The At War blog built a community of expert readers, then asked them for help identifying munitions.

That niche community grows loyal audience, and enables the blogger to tap their expertise for better news coverage. The Times’ Caucus blog asked readers to help identify a secret Super PAC donor. And war blogger C.J. Chivers recently asked his readers to help identify cluster bombs being used in Libya. Expert readers responded with emails and phone calls to help him narrow the search.

Finally, a blog can be an entry point to journalism across the site. An effective blogger can steer his loyal niche audience to the other articles published on your site that they would care about but might not otherwise find.

For example, the Caucus blog does an early morning roundup that summarizes and links to the handful of Times news articles that were published that day. In this way, a good blogger can be not only another politics reporter but your organization’s lead ambassador to the politically minded audience.

Manage the growth

So, now you’ve created some blogs and they’re finding a groove. How do you keep them on track and increase their value over time?

Communication and coordination is vital, Liberman said. Each blog needs to have a sense of when its work might intersect with other blogs and editorial departments. It’s important to keep those related editors in the same loop so you don’t duplicate coverage.

Avoid topic sprawl. A freestanding blog might naturally evolve over time, taking on new subjects. News site blogs often can’t do that.

As a sub-brand, blogs have to account for what the larger brand already provides. Find your niche, Liberman said, and don’t overstep your mission.

“These brands like Dealbook, like Bits or like Well, have to be somewhat defined within the context of the Times. They can’t just grow into being bigger and bigger and bigger and take on new subject matter,” she said. “They can grow in terms of volume, they can grow in terms of traffic … but they really have to stay fairly close to what their mission is.”

The New York Times’ Dealbook blog has become its own brand, with only minor emphasis on the Times.

Blow out your big successes. A very successful blog can grow into something bigger. The Times has converted Dealbook, Bits and soon the health and wellness blog Well into something more like microsites than blogs.

Although they still are part of the Times site, they have their own branding and unique design that little resembles the rest of nytimes.com. Dealbook even has its own domain name at Dealbook.com and it’s own top-level navigation spot on the nytimes.com home page.

Liberman said the Times’ decision to blow out a blog like this is driven by two main factors: advertiser interest in sponsoring the blog more prominently; and enough direct traffic and news volume to warrant manually selected top stories and adding special features.

If you reach the point where your biggest problem is deciding how to cope with the overwhelming popularity of one of your blogs, you’re doing something right. Read more

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New Guardian blog puts readers next to editors as stories unfold

You might remember last year that the Guardian tried publishing its story budgets online to invite feedback and tips from readers. Today the UK newspaper takes the next step toward a transparent, “open” newsroom with a daily live blog from the news desk.

Newsdesk Live is not another bloggy account of today’s top stories like Yahoo News’ The Upshot or The New York Times’ The Lede. Newsdesk Live includes the day’s story budget and conversational updates on what Guardian journalists are seeking and learning. The blog invites readers to contribute by posting comments, emailing or tweeting.

Newsdesk Live is a home for top news updates, newsroom process and reader engagement.

This is a noteworthy experiment in both form and function. Readers can quickly gauge the leading stories of the day, how they’re unfolding and what the public might contribute. The result is a pleasant mix of facts, analysis, process and discussion — an illustration of news as a process, not a product. Read more

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We’ve seen blogs become less about the instant and more about the Instapaper. A steady rise in popularity for Argo’s highest-trafficked site, MindShift, accompanied its move to less-frequent, longer-form blogging. CommonHealth, another of the network’s most popular sites, has scored some of its biggest audience hits with 4,000-word opuses.

Matt Thompson, on one of the lessons he has learned from managing NPR's Project Argo blogs.

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Is tech blogging over, or entering a new golden age?

Web Strategy | Predictably Rabid
Jeremiah Owyang describes four trends that signal the end of the tech blogosphere, including a talent turnover. One of those exiting stars, Sarah Lacy, disagrees with Owyang and argues that the golden age of tech blogging is ahead, not behind us. She writes:

I’m a big believer that tech trends tend to over-promise in the short term but under-promise in the longterm. As Jeremiah points out, the last few years demonstrated some of the limitations of blogging — i.e., we can’t all make businesses and build big audiences, it won’t replace all older forms of media, and it’s a grind that will wear down all but the most intent. In a lot of ways sites like Facebook, Yelp and Twitter have scratched that itch for self-expression by giving the masses an easier and more painless way to get the endorphin rush that blogging gave in the early days. …

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Do online readers want short or long form reporting? It depends

Forbes
Lewis DVorkin shares some insightful audience statistics from two Forbes writers with very different styles — Eric Savitz, a “human newswire” churning out short posts, and Matt Herper, a long-form, infrequent writer. The lesson, he says, is “online news consumers crave both.” The key is understanding the subject and the audience, DVorkin says. Savitz covers daily tech company news by embracing “frequency and timeliness,” while Herper learned that the issues on his pharmaceutical beat were better suited to longer explainers that “take the reader into another world.” The post has charts, and more analysis. (via Jay Rosen) || Earlier: Long-form reporting drops at Wall Street Journal in Murdoch era (Poynter) Read more

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Washington Post publisher Weymouth sees new media as ‘them,’ not ‘us’

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth draws a big, bold line between “old media” like the Post and “new media” such as blogs and citizen journalists.

The Post is embracing the new “tools” of online journalism, but they don’t change who journalists are, what journalism is or how the Post does it, Weymouth said Wednesday as the keynote speaker of the Knight-Batten Awards symposium in Washington, D.C.

Weymouth made several points that advocate a progressive future for the Post. She told the audience of Washington journalists that all Post reporters should use social media to connect with their readers and that innovation is the job of every employee in the company.

The overall tone, however, was more combative toward what she labeled as “new media.” There was much talk about competition, but little about the benefits of collaboration. On some subjects Weymouth expressed views that were conservative or even a little curmudgeonly.

She joked about that at one point:

The popular perception is that so-called traditional media just doesn’t get it — that newspaper executives are generally a group of bumbling old white men clinging on to the good old days and wishing that whole Internet thing would go away. Well I am here to blow up that myth, to tell you that there is at least one old white woman in there clinging on to that hope.

On citizen journalism

Weymouth strongly asserted that journalism is not something anyone can do on any given day.

“I do firmly believe that it [journalism] is an art, and a profession, and requires expertise,” she said “True journalists understand the rules of decency, the ethics of journalism and how to separate fact from hype.”

Later, she acknowledged that citizen journalism does have a place, not on equal footing with the Post but as a potential source for its reporting.

“Citizen journalists, armed with cellphones and Twitter accounts, are not the enemy. They are additional sources on the ground,” Weymouth said. “When used properly, their photos and words enrich our coverage and our readers’ understanding of the unfolding story.”

On blogs and new media

Weymouth was especially derisive about “new media,” by which she seemed to mean independent blogs and nontraditional news sites.

“Traditional media, and the journalism that we put out, remains the foundation even of the new media,” she said, stating that most of links on blogs and independent news go to traditional media reports.

She referenced a “recent Pew study” to support that. As best I can tell, she was referring to the 2010 Project for Excellence in Journalism study that reported that 75 percent of news links on blogs went to American legacy media outlets. (The study looked at the most-linked-to stories in the blogosphere each day.)

But you can’t use a study of the overall blogosphere to draw conclusions about the niche of local blogs and independent media companies. Where I live in Arlington, Va. (in the Post’s coverage area), local blogs provide far more original and relevant local reporting than the Post does. And many DC blogs give the Post a strong challenge in the District proper. In my past job at TBD we collaborated with more than 200 Washington-area blogs providing local news and information.

9/11 would have been ‘more horrific’ in the social media era

On a completely different subject, Weymouth talked about how the 9/11 attacks would have been more traumatic if social networks were able to capture a closer, more personal view from ground zero:

Most of us learned about the events of that day in one of four ways — by television, by radio, by newspaper, or by a phone call from a friend. And while we are all incredibly grateful for the ways in which technology has enhanced our lives, I think we are also grateful that we didn’t live through 9/11 with all of that technology.

We didn’t have to see live video footage shot from inside the collapsing buildings and uploaded onto YouTube. Cellphones didn’t have cameras back then. … Can you imagine how horrifying it would have been if we had tweets from the victims on the planes or in the offices, or if they had posted to their Facebook pages?

… Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and all the technologies that have yet to be invented make all these events more real, and more horrific. Television pales in comparison.

Yet some good could have come from having more firsthand reports of the attacks. Perhaps some urgent social media messages from people at or near the towers could have saved family and friends the worry of not knowing what happened to their loved ones.

Social media certainly would have brought us all closer to the attacks and the people affected. Whether someone sees that as good or bad says more about their view of the technology than anything else.

Huffington Post social media editor Mandy Jenkins was in the room yesterday and wrote a post collecting reaction to Weymouth’s 9/11 statement: “She’s right, it would be horrific. … But I don’t say ‘thank goodness’ to that lack of social media. I imagine, ‘What if?’ I say, if today’s social media had been around, those who perished on September 11, 2001, could have been the storytellers of their own history.” Read more

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WP hires three bloggers to work with Ezra Klein

Romenesko Memos
They are Suzy Khimm, who leaves Mother Jones; Sarah Kliff, formerly of Politico; and Brad Plumer, a New Republic associate editor. The Post memo is after the jump. Read more

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