Why we blog

Worried that the Internet and bloggers are crowding out newspapers, journalism and real journalists? (Who isn’t!) A recent blog post on reportr.net, titled How blogging creates new opportunities for journalists, offers a different perspective.

Blogger Scott Elliott, Dayton Daily NewsIn this post, Scott Elliott, an education reporter and blogger with the Dayton Daily News, tells how blogging opened up new opportunities for him…including his current role as a newspaper columnist.

“Tomorrow’s journalist will simply have to be comfortable writing online,” Elliott says, “and blogging is the best training there is for this writing style.”

He also quotes what John Robinson, editor of the Greensboro (N.C.) News-Record, had to say on his blog about hiring journalists today:

‘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. 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. Finally, in answering the question, they usually let on what they think of blogging and digital. Believe it, some trash blogs.

‘Second, if they haven’t read my blog, it tells me they haven’t done their homework. That makes the candidate a non-starter.

‘Actually, it helps winnow down the candidates pretty quickly.’

Elliott concludes: “If you’re a journalist and you are not comfortable writing for an online audience, you had better start getting there fast.”

I agree. That’s the main reason we use blogs for this class…well, that and the fact that they’re free. That also helps.

In the same vein, you might also want to read Promote yourself well, or fail, a recent post by Mindy McAdams, who teaches (and blogs about) online journalism at the University of Florida. If you do, be sure to check out her “wake-up call lecture” link, which offers some timely tips on presenting yourself online.