Journalism is about constant change, and the medium journalists use is no different.
Online journalism has become prominent for journalists in the past couples years. Blogs have become a main focus for journalists wanting to get information out to the public. Blogs are accessible to everyone who is willing to share their thoughts, experiences, and findings with the public.
Blogging is a way for companies and people to get their name out to anyone with a smart phone, tablet, or computer in a fast and efficient way. Large companies have relied greatly on blogs to share up-to-the-minute information as well as reach out geographically to a larger audience. People rely on this type of social media to share the information which interests them. They are giving themselves the opportunity to express themselves in a space of their own.
Journalists greatly understand the importance of blogging now more then ever. Kelly Clay explains in her article, “Why Journalists Should Have a Blog” the importance she sees in this medium. She stresses that blogging for most journalists is a canvas where they are free to express themselves on any subject and create a voice for themselves with no constraints. This can also serve a professional portfolio where they can demonstrate their knowledge and writing skills on a range of subjects. She is realistic in explaining that new and old bloggers should not expect to build a community followers of 10,000 and more, but it gives way to an opportunity of expanding their audience.By doing this they are creating opportunities for themselves that reach out to a larger audience not only in their demographic. It allows people to expand their knowledge and share it with those across the world.
Matt Wells who is a blogger for The Guardian explains in his article, “How live blogging has transformed journalism”, the importance blogging made when it came to giving the public information on Arab Spring. The truth is that today’s society is used to having all the information they need at their fingertips on their smartphones that journalists covering big stories have resorted to live blogging as Wells explains. He discusses that for events like Arab Spring, which is considered a fast paced news story journalists have the task of providing the public with minute by minute coverage and live blogging gives them the opportunity of doing this. He continues by saying:
“On fast-moving stories, live blogs give the ability to post significant developments quickly — more quickly than editing and re-editing a news article. They also allow us to link out to other coverage, to include comments from Twitter and Facebook, to display multimedia (pictures, video, and audio), and to include our audience in the comments below the line — all in one place.”
The fact that he mentions Twitter and Facebook is significant because it comes hand-in-hand with blogs. When large companies posts articles or videos on their blogs they then link it as a post on their social media sites, like Twitter to reach out to not only those who follow their blogs, but their Twitter, Facebook followers as well.
Sue Greenwood, a senior lecturer at Staffordshire University, discusses the importance of teaching her students how to be both professional when it comes to blogging and great at networking in, “Why all would-be journalists need to blog”. She initially explains to us readers the main focus of what she teaches her students:
“I haven’t found a more effective way to show would-be journalists that the point of writing a story (or making a video) is that someone who cares about the subject will read it.”
This statement Greenwood explains is true, that only people who have an interest in a subject will sit there and read posts on a blog about that given subject. Journalists and wannabe journalists are trying to write stories which have a purpose to them and then convey it to an audience who shares the same interest and views. Blogging allows journalists that opportunity. The interesting thing about blogging is that we can be whoever we want to be and can create 1, 10, or even 100 blogs and appeal to a range of people through this online tool. I believe Greenwood sees the positivity of journalists using blogs because it allows them to show diversity in writing and subjects. Writing for diverse audiences in a professional manner is key when students want to be taken seriously as journalists. Greenwood understands this need and helps those who seek it.
Martin Bryant discusses in his article “How blogging gives student journalists an edge in the job market” the importance that blogging makes at job interviews now more then ever. He explains that newspaper sales have diminished due to the rise of “web-based platforms”. Bryant interviews Paul Bradshaw in his article who is a leader in the masters journalism course at Birmingham City University. Bradshaw explains how he pushes his journalism students to start their own blogs; he also goes onto say,
“I think students entering the marketplace who have never run their own news website are at an increasing disadvantage…Pretty much every employer I talk to says that they would ask serious questions about why an applicant was not already doing their journalism on some sort of online platform.”
Due to the advances in technology and social media sites, companies have created departments which handle their online affairs, leaving students having to learn the ins and outs of the internet and blogging business. Both Bryant and Bradshaw agree that students will be asked during interviews whether or not they have an online portfolio of themselves showcasing their work. If not, it shows that they have no online experience, no group of followers reading their work, and unfortunately no name for themselves. Blogging is almost mandatory for the journalism student nowadays.
A blog which will help other below journalists succeed in blogging and the “how to’s” is Adam Westbrook’s blog Ideas on digital storytelling and publishing. His blog is one of the best I’ve come across when trying to learn how to properly and professionally market and brand your name on social media. He posts beautiful photos and articles which he has published, creating himself an online biography and cv for himself. It is definitely a blog to follow and constantly check up on for new and innovative online tools.
Journalists follow the news daily, hourly so a blog featuring the news is definitely a top blog for journalists to keep an eye on. A personal favorite is the blog offered by The Huffington Post which can be found by clicking on this link. The Huffington Post has done a marvelous job of keeping their readers with up to the minute information on news happening nationally. Their blog is constantly up to date, refreshing itself minutely, allowing us to always get the facts as soon as possible. What catches the eye of the refer especially is their use of color and boldness in their headings. It is definitely a must-follow.
Wannabe Hacks is a blog devoted to student journalists. It prepares future journalists for what they will encounter in the real world when they are in school and out of school. It answers questions and provides stories of other journalists who found themselves sometimes struggling and looking for the right answer to their unknown questions. It is a clever blog, helping wannabe journalists out of the stickiest situations. Wanna be Hacks also provides tips and advice on those people looking to be print journalists and broadcasters, it helps students create the perfect portfolio for themselves and how to nail to interview to that dream job they want. They also stress to their audience that all journalists should have an online portfolio and social media sites where they can post interesting findings. This blog is definitely a keeper and a top one.
Blogging has definitely become a priority to journalists which is why even student journalists are given classes on the importance of creating themselves online portfolios as a canvas where they can voice their opinions and thoughts to an audience they will slowly build during their education.
It is a writing tool, not enough people take advantage of unfortunately in the fast pace technological world we are living in. Blogging is definitely something to watch out for because it is only growing in popularity. So get blogging!