Week2: Blogs Provide a Fresh Perspective on News

25 Jan

Thibodaux – alt024@ufl.edu

The art of blogging is becoming ever more popular as journalists continually find new and innovative ways to share the news.  What’s great about blogging, however, is that it is not limited to journalists only.  The concept of blogging allows anyone who is interested in a particular topic to share his or her thoughts and knowledge with the rest of the cyber-world.  It is changing the way and by whom the news is reported, and the ever-so-savvy journalist is beginning to realize the advantages that blogs provide.

One company who has taken blogging to a whole new level is NPR, with the invention of an internal project coined Argo.  The basic purpose of Argo was to hire a reporter for 12 member radio stations, teach him or her how to blog, and create a local source of news on a single topic.  According to an article written by Neiman Journalism Lab, the project was so successful that 10 of the 12 stations are attempting to keep its blog alive, hiring the bloggers on as full-time staff members.  The article also stated that in particular, “at four of the 12 stations, their Argo blog drew monthly audiences bigger than every other part of their news sites combined.”

What is so special about a blog as opposed to your average run-of-the-mill news story?  Well, for starters, blogs allow for news with a twist – the blogger’s opinion.  Bloggers aren’t held to typical journalism standards of objectivity and fairness.  A blogger can be as one-sided as he or she pleases.  This gives readers an oppurtunity to follow bloggers who have the same beliefs as them on any given subject.  I know that for me personally, this is the most exciting aspect of the blogging revolution.  Find a topic of interest and a blogger you agree with.  It’s that simple … and it’s revolutionizing the way we receive our news.

Matt Thompson of the PBS Foundation said that the “bread and butter of blogging is writing short and often.” Keep the information to the point and the posts up-to-date.  The bloggers involved in the Argo project wrote about everything from health care reform in Massachusetts to immigration in Southern California.  Bloggers are generally required, however,  to report and then edit their own content.  Thompson continued,  “As the project has gone on, I’ve actually defaulted to calling the bloggers reporter-editors, rather than reporter-bloggers, just because that subtle shift in language suggests something different to the folks that hear it.  So much of what they do and so much of the skill set that they have, that they’ve developed over the year, is really as an assigning editor, too. It’s having the judgment, the news judgment, and the organizational capacity.” 

I believe that as blogging becomes more prevalent, we will begin to see a shift in the manner of which people prefer their news.  The topics are endless, and the key to a successful blog is being the first to report to your followers on your area of expertise.

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