Can journalists blog well?

Posted on April 30, 2006 
Filed Under Journalism

Amy Gahran asks “What’s the Point of Newspaper Blogs?” and the debate is intriguing in light of the recent debacle at LATimes.com:

1. Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing and NPR fame wrote, in part, “It’s important that newspapers not launch blogs for the sake of launching blogs. There had to be a purpose to other than to have the ability to tell the world that you have a blog. What’s the point of interacting with your audience?”

2.Maureen Ryan’s list of blogging goals included these: “To have fun. To post something immediately, get immediate feedback, be able to see (via Typepad) what other sites link to that story, get emails from readers about the story — it’s just exciting. …To be surprised. Whatever preconceptions I have about what blog items will be popular, I’m usually wrong. Which is great fun.”

3. Amy Gahran: “I couldn’t agree more. I coach a lot of people in blogging skills, and one of the first tips I try to hammer home is that if you’re not having fun or feeling energized by this process, you need to change how you’re doing it. Blogging only really works where there’s genuine energy and enthusiasm.”

4. Russ Walker said Washington Post’s blog goals include these: “drive repeat traffic to washingtonpost.com by offering readers lots of incremental news published outside the newspaper’s publishing cycle, and to engage readers in a larger conversation (and hopefully keep them on our site longer).”

5. Andy Perdue: “…recently launched a wine-related blog after a few months of consideration. I’ve published a weekly email newsletter on the subject for six years to accompany a glossy magazine. In December, we launched a video podcast (dubbed the “Winecast”), and a blog seemed like the next logical step to fill in the gaps between the quarterly magazine, the weekly email and the video podcast. I’ve used it to talk to my readers on subjects beyond those I can talk about in the weekly email. It’s also two-way, unlike the other products surrounding the magazine. I feed the blog almost daily, and the traffic has been solid, though much of it is still driven by the email newsletter.

“So, we have a quarterly magazine, a Web site, a weekly email newsletter, a weekly video show and a blog. The point, I guess, is to surround readers with as much information as they want and in whatever forms they are willing to take it.”

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