This term most of the students in my News Reporting and Photojournalism classes at LBCC are creating their first blog. While some students dive right in, it's hard for others to get a feel for blogging or keep their momentum.
Fortunately, there are a lot of experienced bloggers out there with encouraging words for my young journalists. Here are some of their suggestions for launching and maintaining a good blog.
Craig Stoltz (Web2.Oh...Really?) offers "Five Lessons From a Year of Blogging," including this gem:
A personal blog is as valuable to the writer as the reader. A near-daily obligation to write forces you to learn something new or create an insight about something you already know. Writing a blog lets you educate yourself in public.I can always count on Mindy McAdams' "Teaching Online Journalism" site for new ways to improve what we do and better connect with readers. When it comes to blogging, her site is a valuable archive of tips and ideas.
These days, she's doing a series titled "Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency." She began with urging journalists to read blogs and use RSS, then followed up with the reasons why we blog:
Today’s topic might seem mundane to many of you, but I always say that writing a blog with commitment, on some kind of regular schedule, makes you smarter.
The advantage for a journalist who needs to catch up, who needs to learn new skills for a digital and online world, is that having a commitment to a blog drives the blogger to search out new information. It’s kind of like taking a college course for credit instead of auditing the course. If you’re just auditing, when the rest of your life gets busy, you’ll just quit going to the classes. Some people abandon their blogs, of course. But those who make a commitment and stick to it soon find that the blog connects them to new developments and kindred spirits in ways they had not anticipated.
Third, I'm always looking for interesting blogs by young people that my students can use as role models. Shannon Paul works as a social media specialist for a company called PEAK6 Online in Chicago. Once or twice a week she writes about various aspects of her job and subjects such as personal branding and new public relations techniques. The bottom line is that she has fun with her blog, which should be one the top reasons we blog.-rp-
(Photo credit: "Writers Block (6)" by Jonno Witts, courtesy of Flickr.com)