The invention of the blog has opened new doors for writers.
For journalism specifically, the accompaniment of blogs to traditional news outlets has allowed for a larger audience to be reached, and it has created an opportunity for multiple writers to work together on a single blog to improve the content. Jouralism has also benefitted from blogging because it keeps journalism modern; it’s another platform on the internet that journalists can use to present news in an interesting way for tech-savvy readers.
Different organizations are always experimenting with blogs, but NPR began a particularly successful experiment in 2010 called the Argo Project. During Argo, NPR funded 12 of its member stations to create blogs and hire writers.
It seems that Argo’s success can, in part, be attributed to the fact that the blogs offered an alternative news source, created by NPR, that wasn’t directly related to its usual content. Meaning, a new audience was reached.
Blogs also allow journalists and news organizations to expand their horizons without being radical. By definition, blogs can be about anything and everything, so traditional content doesn’t have to be removed or altered when blogs are created.
Blogs simply add an extra venue for presenting information. They expand the topic range for journalists to connect with the audience.
Another notebale aspect to blogging is that multiple writers can work together on a single blog to add variety and keep the content from going stale.
Matt Thompson, who was part of the Argo Project, wrote, “several of our stations also tweaked the model of the single, full-time blogger that we began with, splitting the position between two part-time bloggers, or augmenting the site with contributions from freelancers. And by and large, this has worked quite well for the stations that have taken this approach.”
In the article, Thompson also stresses the importance of hiring “double threats” to write the blogs — those who edit as well as they write. Blogs often operate a bit independently with the writer also editing, taking photos, headlining the piece and writing photo captions.
The concept is still new, and it seems that blogs are treated like the newsroom accessory. They’re integrated into and used by the organization, but like the big chunky bracelet on your wrist, they’re still a little new and foreign to the rest of the whole.
But more and more, journalism students are graduating with skill-sets that include more than one aspect of journalism. Classes require students to be the new journalist who can write and self-edit, as well as take photos, write captions and write headlines.
They also write blogs for classes, and in doing so, they practice sharing and collaborating with other writers, designing blogs as well as the new requirements mentioned above to be a journalist today.
Journalism classes require students to write blog posts that are about something, so the post is written with a lot of thought and scrutiny. But for a news organization, many posts aren’t written so carefully.
Because there are countless ways to define a blog, some organizations simply use blogs as the second step in the “convoluted life cycle of a news story.” They are posted without jumping through many hoops and without getting scanned by many sets of eyes.
The writers of those blog posts are writing short blips of news, but they still have to write them flawlessly, which circles back to the need for double-threats in the newsroom. With the increasing popularity of blogging, there is an increasing need for the great writer/self-editor.
As technology is incorporated into our lives even more, the relationship between journalism and technology will grow closer and the skillset of the typical journalist will increase. Blogging is just the starting point.