The internet is full of blogs these days, in fact, you’re currently reading one. There are about 152 million blogs on the internet, that are home to approximately 1.53 million new blog posts a day. Blogs are the internet-based version of the traditional “journal”. Writers or “bloggers” can update as often as they want and post content on whatever their fingers feel like typing. But that isn’t the only way to use this blogging “technology.”
Journalists and news outlets can also use blogs to enhance their coverage. Blogs allow journalists to build an audience and a sense of community, due to their ability to be interactive. Blogs encourage comments from readers, allowing quick feedback for journalists. They can easily gauge what stories their readers appreciate or even which ones their readers would like more information on. Along with being able to communicate with their audience, journalists are able to build a sense of community by using hyperlinks to connect with other sites and blogs that are relevant to their topics.
Blogs also allow journalists to publish outside of the traditional cycle and format that readers have come to expect from traditional news outlets. Blogs have the capability of being updated frequently and a journalist has a little more freedom on a blog, not necessarily having to follow all the rules on a blog, but just being able to write. They are also capable of incorporating more media, such as photo and videos without red tape, but not without potential backlash. Journalists can also turn to their blogs for help.
Some studies show that more people read blogs than visit social networking sites. Even if that’s not the case, with 1.53 million blogs in the world it is a very powerful community with a lot of resources. Blogs can allow journalists to tap into the “wisdom of the crowd” and turn to crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing allows a journalist to take advantage of the resources of the community they have created in their blog to improve their information base. They are able to hand over investigative powers to thousands of individuals when they hit a road block. It allows them to turn journalism into a network as opposed to just simply words on a page.
But blogs don’t completely throw away the traditional format. A good blog post, like any good news story, must have a good, specific headline. A good blog is also clean. It keeps its posts organized, with the newest content on the top and tags and categories to help find older posts easily.
Being a journalist and a blogger also requires paying attention to the blogging community. Journalists using blogs can’t just be concerned with themselves, which keeps them accountable for their actions. They have to be a part of the community that has been built by the 152 million other bloggers. They need to read and comment on other blogs and while using links to other blogs in their post when applicable.
With a society that revolves around 24-hour access to the latest information, while also wanting a unique perspective blogs are a journalist’s best friend.