Our recent lecture on blogging from Adam Tinworth, Head of Blogging, Communities and Social Media at Reed Business Information, gave me some interesting perspectives on how to approach blogging.
We covered the ways in which blogging is different (and, some would argue, better) than traditional print publishing: it’s all about what’s interesting, without the boundaries or word limits of a newspaper or magazine, and it’s a conversation with many participants, not just one-way.
But the comment that really stuck out for me was this:
“We do not create communities. We merely provide services for communities that already exist”
The potential to tap into communities that exist on the net is phenomenal, and this is surely one of the biggest possible benefits of the web. It gives us a chance to get to know our readers, whether through forums, blogs, or direct communication via Twitter.
This can only help improve journalism, because we can better understand what our readers want to know and also get ideas from them on what stories they want covered.
We also talked about setting up niche blogs, especially of a local patch, which finally gave me the impetus to get going on setting up a new blog about my local beat, Cathays in Cardiff.
It’s a bit of a work in progress at the moment, but it should be a really exciting project to try and stay on top of what’s going on in the area, and hopefully tap into some of those local communities we talked about. I’ll let you know how I get on…
UPDATE: I’ve just come across this really useful list of tips for newspaper reporters who blog by American journalist Ian Hill, which is well worth taking a look at to avoid some of the pitfalls.