Blogging: the new direction

24 Jan

When most people think of blogs, I think people sharing their personal thoughts come to mind. Most people see blogs as anonymous diaries that can be shared with people worldwide. But to me, and others, blogs are much more. Blogs are tools journalists can use to keep up with the changing times and technology. They’re no longer limited to people ranting about their day or sharing their opinions. If journalists can embrace this new technology, like NPR did in its Argo project, it’ll open new doors and introduce new advantages.

The introduction of blogging has drastically changed the field of journalism.  It has brought the journalists closer to their readers. In the past, journalism was a lecture. The reporter would tell their story to the reader and the reader would take it in. The only way to send feedback to a newspaper was to send letters in the mail. And even then, the chances of getting a response from that reporter were slim. Now journalism can be a conversation. The reporter tells the story and the readers can respond instantly. Thanks to blogs, readers can write comments at the end of articles, the reporter can respond publicly and other readers can benefit from also reading this exchange. Making the news process a conversation rather than a sermon brings the reader and the journalist closer together.

Blogs can also affect the audience an organization reaches. Right away, the audience is bigger. By using the internet as your medium, you can reach millions of more people. An organization’s reach is far greater when it doesn’t have to rely on a man in a truck to deliver the news to every doorstep at 4am.

The online medium also appeals to a greater number of people. The young generation is constantly connected to technology. Most of these people are probably more likely to read the news on the internet than they are to sit down every morning with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Not only do blogs appeal to younger people, but they also allow journalists to target a tighter group of readers. By having a blog on a specific topic, such as local nightlife, a journalist will have a lot more people who are interested in that topic paying attention to their blog as opposed to having just an article or two on it in the general paper. Specified blogs also allow a single news organization to expand the topics they cover. With unlimited internet space, there is no longer a problem about how long articles can be, how many articles can be included or how many topics can be touched. Space is now unlimited.

Especially in NPR’s case, by using the blogs, they brought more traffic to their affiliates. In this case, the affiliate was the radio station. By promoting the radio station on the blog, it led more people to listen to the radio after they found that they enjoyed the blog. Blogs have the potential to expand news organizations in ways we can’t even imagine.

Another advantage to using blogs as journalists is the ability to break news faster and keep people updated. There are no time zone issues to worry about since the news will reach everyone at the same time no matter where they are. Though updating on blogs can be confusing, if journalists can keep it organized, blogs are a convenient way to keep the public updated on breaking stories.

Though blogging could be the journalism of the future, it’s important to note the increasing need for good editors. Breaking news so quickly means that the reporter must be an efficient and capable editor. If the reporter is not able to go through his or her work with a fine tooth comb in a fast manner, it could result in embarrassing mistakes or someone else breaking the news first. The increased importance on good editing is something to keep in mind as we adapt to new technologies.

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