The idea of a blog is outdated for many people. If you want to be a journalist however, maintaining a blog is a key element.
” The news cycle is now interactive. Journalists use microblogging to publish, share and find information, links, photos, videos and polls with large audiences from anywhere,” says Ellyn Angelotti, digital trends and social media faculty member at The Poynter Institute (p.45).
A good blog will take the life of its readers. Its up to you to facilitate the vision and start the conversation. The beauty in the idea of a blog comes into play when the readers take control of the content. The readers will be happy with the content and you will be happy with the traffic.
In this arena of journalism open-sourcing and crowd-sourcing are frequently used. Mark Briggs author of Journalism Next Third Edition states that, “Online, all relevant information is an essential part of the virtual-community conversation on a given topic.”
Keep in mind journalist who are currently in the field are creating content for their respective news agencies and working on multiple stories at a time with tight deadlines. Freelance reporters are investigating a variety of stories at any given time or possibly seeking employment. They do all this on top of producing content for their own personal blogs.
Running a successful blog requires you to be constantly on guard for the next story, as John Cook, former business reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer puts it.
I mention this not to scare anyone away from a career in journalism but to warn you it will take perseverance and dedication.
Chapter three of Journalism Next 3rd Edition discusses ‘crowd-powered collaboration’. What does that mean you may ask? To start you off don’t think of crowd-powered collaboration as a type of technology you would use. Instead view it as “how to harness a wide array of digital tools to knock down barriers, to bring journalists closer to readers and readers closer to journalism.”(p.92)
There are three terms you must understand in order to effectively collaborated with the crowd.
- Crowdsourcing is a term that is derived from ‘outsourcing’ & they are very similar. To crowd source is to “harness the sustained power of community to improve a service or information base.”(p.93) While this form of sourcing is still largely an experiment in the journalistic world many news organizations work to leverage the audience in their favor.
- Open-source reporting this refers to design, development and distribution. This style of sourcing is dependent on transparency. With the advent of social media sites such as twitter journalist have been able to become closer to their readers. Unlike crowdsourcing where a reporter would ask the audience a specific type of question for assistance. “Open-source means pulling the curtain back on the reporting process and welcoming the audience’s feedback”(p.99)
- Pro-Am Journalism is the equivalent of Do-It-Yourself tutorials for journalist. “The essence of pro-am journalism is simple once you understand that no news organization can be everywhere all the time. Readers provided the ‘what’; journalists can then provide the ‘why’.”(p.103)
Each form of sourcing has their advantages. The news organizations & reporters that use crowd-powered collaboration the best are those who incorporate all three elements of sourcing. Build and manage a community online and make your news collaborative. “The power of the Web comes from its interactivity. The link, which connects one piece of information to another, is the primary building block of the digital age.”(p.114) The next important tool is the concept of commenting, or contributing by the audience. Be sure the site you are using makes it easy for the audience to comment and or contribute.