July 5, 2009

Holding back: Why newspaper folks don't blog well?

It can be hard to find a print journalist who has made the transition to online blogging successfully. But I'd never considered equipment and the ability to choose your own software as barriers until reading "Developing ownership for better blogging."

Adam Tinsworth argues that the structure of the news business - top-down management and corporate-owned computer equipment and chosen software - makes it tougher for news bloggers to make their blogs their own.
"For the blogger the laptop is their portable office, a communication device that is an extension of themselves (witness the huge degree to which many bloggers customize their laptops with stickers). For journalists, it's another reminder of the fact that everything they do is someone else's."
Does the same hold true for corporate bloggers? They, too, often thrive in similar companies. Or are the best bloggers outside corporate walls?

Robert Niles also posted recently on Why newspaper columnists don't make good bloggers. He starts with the premise that they ought to be perfect for the role:
"the best write in a lively voice and forge a strong connection with their readers. Their work build an ongoing conversation with the communities they cover. Frankly, they've been blogging (in print) since long before anyone other than academics and soldiers went online."
The blog post followed a presentation at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference on Tips on Branding Yourself. Niles and his cospeaker told the group that it comes down to the public's perception of its relationship with the writer.
"That what matters most in determining your online success is how your work is understood and acted upon by its audience - more than what your intention with the work was or the process that you used to create it. You can do work you believe to be great, but if no one reads it or no one who does cares, what was the point?"
Niles also suggested that the columnists ask folks to share experiences, not opinions, to keep conversations going.

He also reminded folks about one thing I think print folks find it hard to do: leave the silo and go where the community is. That's right, participate on other blogs, other forums, other sites.


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