Teacher: Every journalist should blog, learn to think like a publisher
Everyone who’s interested in becoming a journalist, or who already is one, should blog. That’s how Sue Greenwood, a journalism lecturer at Staffordshire University in England puts it in this blog post at Journalism.co.uk.
I’d say everyone who’s interested in creating nonfiction content, just in case you don’t want to use the big word “journalism” to describe what you do. Sometimes “journalist” sounds too highfalutin for me, and I’m reminded of John Kruk saying, “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a ballplayer!”
Anyway, Greenwood’s point, which she teaches her students, is that they are responsible for building their audience, and blogging puts them in what the publisher’s chair:
Reporters aren’t poring over Google analytics pages and thinking: “Blimey O’Reilly, that story about the park closure gave us a 20 per cent new visitor boost; I’d better do a follow-up. And I need to think about how I’ll bring those new visitors back for the follow-up.”
But that’s what effective bloggers do.
I quoted that passage both because it makes a great point and because you don’t get to type “Blimey O’Reilly” just any old day.
It’s not just analytics and building audience, though. It’s about building a relationship with that audience. Writing for a professional outlet, whether it’s Bleacher Report, your local newspaper or something else, you can and should interact with your readers or viewers or users or whatever you want to call them. You can respond to comments and have an active presence in social media. But blogging puts you even closer:
This isn’t about teaching journalism students how to blog, it’s about getting them to think about their work in relationship to the audience for that work. It’s about them understanding audience isn’t just something for editors and proprietors to worry about.
Most of all, it isn’t about how to get from one view to one million views but about considering who would want to see the story you’ve written and how you will get them to see it.