Even when you’re not first with the news, it’s important to be fast.
Wednesday night, ESPN broke the news that NASCAR racer Jeremy Clements had been suspended for using a racial slur in an interview. I’m not a NASCAR fan and this is the first time I have heard of Jeremy Clements. But Matt Myftiu of the Oakland Press has a NASCAR blog and he jumped on the news. Matt explains (edited from two emails, with me adding the links):
Last night there was some breaking NASCAR news and I posted a quick blog about it at my NASCAR: Beyond the Track blog.
Wasn’t even a big name involved, but the key fact here is that I posted my thoughts right away. It only took me a few minutes to do this, and because it was breaking news many people who were searching for information on this breaking news ended up being directed toward my blog, as almost nobody had posted anything about it.
I’ve had more than 7,000 hits on that post, most of them coming from Web searches about the topic.
The lesson this has taught me: If news is breaking relating to your blog topic and you can get up a post up right away, you’re likely to drive heavy traffic your way.
And I put a short version on the Oakland Press main site linking to my blog, too. It’s No. 1 on our site right now with 3K+ hits.
I’ll repeat Matt’s lesson: If news is breaking on a topic you cover, post right away, even if you’re just reacting to a story someone else broke.
A final point: As you learn lessons about digital journalism (or any kind of journalism), share them with your colleagues. I learned of this incident from an email Matt sent to Oakland Press colleagues. It may feel like boasting. But boasting is less self-centered than keeping lessons to yourself.
— Matt Myftiu (@MattMyftiu) February 28, 2013