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Archive for June 18th, 2009

KCRG While You Were Sleeping blogger Chris Earl responded by email to my request for advice from blogging journalists.  This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

I would say, more than anything else, make it relevant to the reader.  As a blogger who “reports the news” on television, I try to relate to the viewer – not about what I do for a living – but the lives that we all live.  I try to bring them in with the nuances that we all have to go through.

What I find to be the real challenge is that, I read nothing but opinion blogs and stories in my free time.  Yet, as one in television, it is my job to play it down the middle.  The real work is creating interesting blog content that tries to bring on conversation but still has to tread lightly.

Growing a thick skin has always been part of being on-air in television.  I say, keep the comments up and just deal with it.  Often, if feedback or comments are mean-spirited, the poster comes off looking far worse than the blogger.

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Annette Schulte, who blogged for about a year as the Gazette’s Content Ninja, answered my request to share a lesson she had learned. This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

Lesson learned: Trolls. Successfully building an audience (no matter the size) on the Internet for your blog, puts you at risk of attracting trolls. I don’t mean the local crackpot with conspiracy theories who wants to debate the city’s hidden plans for Mount Trashmore. I mean the creepy, vicious bully type of troll who hides behind a pseudonym and an assumption that you’re not smart enough to block or find him. Thing to remember, no matter how insulting the troll gets, is that it’s probably just some dumb, pimply-faced 14-yo in study hall or a sad, lonely 40-something that you’ve never met and never will. Trolls wander about the Internet, using comment threads to lob anonymous insults and threats at bloggers in the hopes that you’ll respond and start a flame war. They do this for fun. They do this b/c the flame war gives them a sense of power and control. That’s why it’s so creepy. So what’s the lesson? Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t engage. Remove the comments. Block the IP address. Let the insults roll off. Links for more info and advice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll,  http://networkbloggingtips.com/dealing-with-trolls-and-negativity/, http://communitiesonline.homestead.com/dealingwithtrolls.html.

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Marc Morehouse, On Iowa sports blogger for The Gazette, offered some thoughts about blogging in an email. I wrote earlier about Marc’s blogging in a Gazette column. This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

I truly enjoy the engagement aspect of blogging. It’s way more dimensional than the newspaper could ever hope to be. It’s writing “with” people and not “at” people. I can’t wait to add more tools and bring even more dimension. (Taped a presser on my phone yesterday, but couldn’t get it off without buying $30 worth of software.)

I just wish we could make money off them.

Here’s a link to one from yesterday.

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James Q. Lynch, Covering Iowa Politics blogger for The Gazette, offered some blogging advice in an email. This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

A few quick thoughts:

  1. At CoveringIowaPolitics.com we are, for the most part, only posting stories we are writing for print. Some stories are written as breaking news and updated as they develop, but somewhere north of 90 percent are print stories posted on the blog. Whether we should be doing something more, something different is a good topic for discussion.
  2.  The blogs I enjoy most are those that have a point of view. The ones I enjoy least are nothing but opinion. Even in cases of blogs that are essentially aggregators, the interesting ones have a point of view. Not necessarily right or left point of view, but a point of view that makes people want to visit again and again. And whatever point of view a blogger chooses probably means some people won’t come back.
  3. I don’t think there is one way to blog. Some bloggers seem to succeed as columnist or essayists, commenting on the news, a sports team, the passing parade. Others are useful because of what they aggregate. And others are conversations starters, inviting people in to share their thoughts and, perhaps, take action.

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Jamie Kelly, Writing Hurts blogger for The Gazette, answered my questions about blogging an email. I wrote earlier about Jamie’s social media guide role in a Gazette column. This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

How is blogging different from writing stories and how is it similar?

It’s different in one important way: your product is visible from the very beginning. That’s scary, but it’s also liberating. No one expects it to be perfect, just as correct as it can be given what you have. The ability to update makes blogging very powerful. But the same rules apply: you need to write what you know to be true, avoid speculation and be fair. (more…)

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Jeff Johnson, Diamonds and Ice sports blogger for The Gazette, offered some blogging advice in an email. I wrote earlier about Jeff’s blogging in a Gazette column. This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

I find I’m learning every day about blogging. What works, what doesn’t, what interests people, what doesn’t. I’m still trying to get into that mindset of “engage, engage, engage.” Sometimes that’s still difficult.

A couple of thoughts, I guess. I’ve found blogging is a great way to break news. We have complete control over posting, we don’t have to go to an editor first. If you have something, run with it, post it immediately. (more…)

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Angie Holmes, FrumpFighter blogger for The Gazette, offered some blogging advice in an email. This is one of several posts related to Bloggers share lots of advice.

Blogging is different than writing stories because you can add your own knowledge of a subject matter and don’t necessarily need someone else to tell the story.

I “accidentally” began blogging about my son, Sage, and our journey on the autism spectrum when controversy began brewing about the death of John Travolta’s son, Jett, and whether or not he was autistic and receiving the proper care.  I realized tapping into my own experiences was not only therapeutic for me, but also helpful to readers. (more…)

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