10 Oct Guide to Blogging
To really get a feel of blogging, you have to read blogs. I’ve outlined below some broadcasts outlets that “get it.” The New York Times, however, goes much, much further, with the Mother Load links in its Blogs 101 page. These should round out your education.
Some common themes:
- Be confident in your own work to link to other sources. By doing so, you become even more of an authority. Also make sure to link to your own stories or quote excerpts of those stories. The New York Times does this especially well.
- Keep it short. In the sphere of the common short-attention-span news consumer, brevity is a virtue. Get to the point, tell me something I don’t know, and move on.
- The best blogs – the most trafficked ones – are done at least daily. It gives a news junky a reason to come back. Practically, this can only be done with multiple contributors, as you’ll see from the following examples.
- Show and tell. Pictures and video can be just as important as text. Many blogs embed compelling YouTube video into their own posts. (Newsmakers are increasingly using YouTube to get their messages out – almost in competition with TV broadcasts.)
MSNBC.com is one of the more progressive online media outlets. Its videos can be embedded into other sites (like YouTube) and it has Web-only video.
The Daily Nightly, “aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News.”Brian Williams weighs in every weekday and NBC correspondents and producers post regularly.
Here’s the larger blog philosophy, according to Tom Brew, deputy editor at MSNBC.com, who was recently featured on the blog Teaching Online Journalism after speaking to students at theCollege of Journalism and Communications at the University ofFlorida:
“Brian Williams decided he was not going to be the last dinosaur anchor, and he learned how to write and how to blog. He wants to be first on the Web,” Tom said.
“If you’re offering nothing more than the news you did on TV last night, cut up,” Tom said, “that’s not going to make it. But if you’re willing to extend that, and add to it, then you’ve got something” in terms of your Web site, your online presence.
Blogs are particularly successful for TV journalists because they can bring more of their TV-style personality into the writing,
MSNBC.com counts its audience at about 32 million visitors per month (Nielsen NetRatings calls it at 28 million monthly), but Tom notes that the amount of time any single visitor spends on the site is quite short.
“You need to be cognizant of user behavior,” he told the students.
“I think brevity, frankly, works on the Web,” Tom said. “Editing and good journalism is a lot about brevity — and cutting things out.”
It’s not the most creative blog title, but it is arguably the most high-profile broadcast blog.
What I like:
· It’s updated throughout the day by multiple contributors, offering behind-the-scenes insights and information about news events.
· It’s not afraid to link to other sources.
· It goes “live” during its two-hour program.
What I don’t like:
· Could use more pictures and video.
“Channel 3 (Pennsylvania) Senior Director Frank Macek blogs from behind the scenes of the WKYC Digital Broadcast Centerabout Channel 3, High Definition TV and other interesting television matters.”
What I like:
Everything! He blogs several times a day, with behind-the-scenes commentary, a video log, a photo gallery, a link to his Facebook page (yes, he has a Facebook page), and good use of tech gadgets. The station even has its own YouTube channel.
Done by the sports staff at WWLTV in Louisiana, it’s frequently updated with stuff you won’t necessarily see on TV. It has plenty of links and multiple contributors who have a definitive, authoritative tone to their writing.
(Some TV sports bloggers even do live blogging during major events, like the Super Bowl, NCAA tournaments and such.)
KHOU, in Houston.
What I like:
· Short, sweet, gets to the point and adds flavor to the news. It’s generally updated several times a day and has multiple contributors.
What it’s missing:
MY FAVORITE OF ALL TIME
From start to finish, the definitive source for all things politics.
What I like: Everything. It starts early in the morning with “The First Word” and ends with “The Last Word,” providing neat bookends. Its multiple contributors respond well to breaking news and insert stories from The Times to supplement their own stuff. They even do live blogging on election nights.
ONE OF OUR OWN
Live blogging from four election headquarters on Long Island last November. Over seven hours or so, we posted 54 items, with stuff you didn’t see anywhere else. It included videos shot from Canon Elphs.