News University gave a recent Webinar hosted by Matt Thompson about effective ways to design and write a successful blog with a robust community.
Thompson offered key tips for reporters, who are often told to go forth and blog but don’t receive much guidance about what makes a good blog. Many journalists, who have spent their whole careers striving to be fair and factual, are legitimately concerned about their opinions seeping into blog posts about topics they cover in the newspaper.
Thompson offered one solution: Give blog readers the inside scoop of what’s going on in the beat.
As an example, Thompson pointed to a post by the Dallas ISD blog at the Dallas Morning News. The post by reporter Tawnell Hobbs starts out:
DISD trustee Ron Price just told me that he was notified today that all 8th graders at Lang Middle School will have to retake the math portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills — this summer — because of a discrepancy. Price said the Texas Education Agency looked into the matter and made the recommendation.
This is a different approach from Hobbs’ news story based on the same information. Both versions are accurate and interesting. The blog post simply puts readers in the reporter’s shoes.
“Same information, totally different tone,” Thompson said. “The blog post, it’s letting you into the story. ‘Hey, Ron Price just told me this.’ That can really hook folks in.”
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