Blogs on their way out?

By Matt Sokoloff 

Wired magazine had an interesting and humorous article about how blogging is so 2004. It’s all Twitter now. It’s timely because so many newsrooms are trying to figure out what to do with their blogs. Most are still yet to take off and many contain the same type of content you would find on the rest of the site. It’s also timely considering Lost Remote’s one week redesign.

I’m not so sure that blogs in newsrooms are going away. They have an important role to play and when done right, are very valuable. So, here’s my list of six things you can do to help your newsroom blogs:

  1. Have a voice – A lot of journalists miss this one. The key isn’t about having a bias but rather being human. News affects people including yourself, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Going towards more casual writing can really help you seem more connected.
  2. Don’t just post wire stories – Not only does this go against having a voice but it’s usually pretty stale and seems out of place.
  3. Engage with your readers – Not only should you solicit comment but you should also respond to them. You don’t have to defend every attack..I mean no one can…but you do want to be a part of two-way conversation.
  4. If you don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t be doing it – This is a hard one for newsrooms but you can always tell when you are reading a blogger who enjoys blogging about their topic. It makes a huge difference. Even if your beat is education you may want to suggest that you blog about pets if that’s what you are into.
  5. Create content that’s easy to read on the fly – That means using lists, summarizing press releases in an engaging way, bolding important words or ideas and using links.
  6. Make sure you post the entire feed – Too many newsrooms in an attempt to get more page views are only posting the first couple lines of the blog post in the RSS feed and forcing users to click to get the rest. Very frustrating for the user and will cause them to stop subscribing to the feed.

What are your tips for blogging in the newsroom? I promise I’ll read and respond.