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sullydish

Andrew Sullivan’s note telling readers he plans to stop blogging.

Occasionally I wonder whether I blog too much and consider whether I should stop, cut back or change directions.

I identified with some of the things that Andrew Sullivan said when announced this week that he will stop blogging. Even as a sideline venture, as my blog has always been, a blog keeps whispering “feed me” in your ear. You read or hear things and start thinking about blogging about them, even if you only actually blog about a small minority of them. If you care about a blog, it becomes demanding or time-consuming. If becomes a big part of your life, and sometimes you need to make changes in your life.

Sullivan wrote:

I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged.

He posted that on Wednesday. I feel like a slacker for waiting till Saturday to blog about it. So many people have already weighed in:

Sullivan’s reasons for deciding to stop blogging are deeply personal, related to his health and feelings about how he wants to spend his time and about feeding the beast that a blog can become (he started charging for The Dish two years ago, which no doubt raises the pressure for feeding the beast; my blog is free).

Each blogger’s situation is different by many factors: what you have to say; your relationship with the people who respond to your blog; how unique or important you think a particular post may be; how frequently you want or need to blog; whether you blog for pay, passion or both; whether and how the blog is advancing your career; other things going on with your life, such as jobs, health and family.

I have kept blogging through several career and personal turns because I always felt like I had something to say and I have enjoyed my relationships with people in the blog comments, on social media and in person who appreciate my blog (including many who disagree on some points). And the blog has advanced my career and raised my profile within journalism. (more…)

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WordPress just informed me that I published my 1,000th post on this blog today.

Some quick and mostly self-indulgent observations/summaries from the first thousand:

  • Twitter is my most-used category on the blog (no surprise), with more than 100 posts, 28 of them in my #twutorial series. I’ve done nearly 100 on ethics.
  • My most-viewed post is one that gets great search traffic but almost no engagement, The 5 W’s (and How) are even more important to business than journalism. It ranks high in Google searches for the 5 W’s and has more than 24,000 views, but I think that’s an oddity.
  • My most-viewed post that I think people actually read is about ideas for new revenue streams for newspapers. It has more than 15,000 views. My only other post with more than 10,000 views is on how a Digital First journalist works.
  • After changing the name frequently in my first couple years. This blog was Puttin’ on the Gaz (when I was editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette), then Transforming the Gaz, then Pursuing the Complete Community Connection (after a blog post that for a couple years was my most-read). I changed it to The Buttry Diary when TBD launched. Even though TBD is long since dead, I think I’ll stick with it. I changed names too frequently.
  • I’ve used a few different headers, but I think I’ll stick with the one designed for me last year by Tim Tamimi.
  • I’m not blogging as often (or getting as much traffic) as I did last year. I topped 25,000 views in five different months last year, twice topping 30,000. I’ve only topped 25K once this year and twice I dropped under 20K. I attribute my less-frequent blogging to my work load and to better fitness. I usually do my blogging in the morning. I have been taking morning walks most of this year (cold weather has slowed that lately), and that has cut into my blogging productivity.

Other blogs

I have no idea where I hit the 1,000 milestone in total blogging. I’ve had several blogs and contributed guest posts to several other blogs.

I started the Training Tracks blog in 2004 for the No Train, No Gain website and later continued it at the American Press Institute. Also at API, I had blogs called Leadership Tips and Writing Tips (blog versions of email newsletters where I aggregated links on those topics, sprinkling in some of my own links and tips). None of those blogs are still available online, except for the Training Tracks posts I’ve republished here (I should have saved the other archives).

I also have three other current blogs:

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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.   (more…)

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Here are links and slides for some workshops I led Friday for the staff of Everyday Health:

My blogging tips:

Social media (mostly Twitter) resources for journalists

Twitter advanced search

Andy Carvin Storify of how he debunked the rumor that Israelis were supplying arms to Libyan rebels

How journalists and newsrooms can use Pinterest

Helpful links for learning and exploring Pinterest

Ivan Lajara’s blog post and Storify about making slideshows using Pinterest and Storify

Dan Victor’s advice on posting images, rather than links, to Facebook

Craig Silverman’s tips on verifying information from social media

Mandy Jenkins’ tips on verifying information from social media

My tips on liveblogging, curation, crowdsourcing and digital storytelling

(If you participated in the workshop and recall a different link I mentioned or showed, let me know and I’ll add it.)


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This is another post republished from my Training Tracks blog at the American Press Institute. I added a few links that were not in the original. While the specific examples might be outdated, the general point still applies. This was published originally July 5, 2005. I have already republished a subsequent Training Tracks post that referenced this one.

You’re reading this online, so you have some understanding of the importance of computers in our lives. Unfortunately, too many of our colleagues aren’t doing enough to recognize the importance of computers in our profession.

The past two weeks, I have spoken at two outstanding journalism conferences: The South Asian Journalists Association meeting at Columbia University in New York and the National Writers Workshop presented by the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I don’t just speak when I go to conferences. When I’m not speaking, I listen to the other speakers. I’m listening to tips to make me a better journalist, listening for tips to cite in my training or writing for journalists, watching other speakers’ presentation techniques to steal some ideas if I can.

I heard lots of helpful tips at both gatherings. I might pass some of those tips along in a future column. For now, though, indulge me in a rant about a couple things that disturbed me.

At the SAJA conference, I sat in on a session on investigative reporting, led by a New York couple, Tom McGinty of Newsday (and formerly on the staff of Investigative Reporters and Editors) and Jo Craven McGinty of the New York Times. Tom asked the audience how many use spreadsheets regularly. A few hands went up, not even one-third of the journalists in the room, I’d guess. I think you’d get the same response, if not less, in most gatherings of journalists.

This is 2005. Public records are stored electronically. If you can’t access and analyze records, you’re not a competent reporter. I’m not saying you need to be a full-scale computer geek. I’m certainly not. In fact, I’m a bit embarrassed that I haven’t developed my computer skills further myself. But I can and have written page-one stories based on computer analysis of data. (more…)

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I will be leading workshops this week for The Gazette in Montreal. Here are links and slides I will be using in workshops:

We will discuss leading a digital-first newsroom. Here are slides for that workshop:

We will discuss the thinking and values of digital-first journalists. Here are slides for that workshop: (more…)

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Since I blogged yesterday about metrics, and since Chris March mentioned my posts noting my monthly review of my blog metrics, I should review February quickly.

First, though, I should review January, which I didn’t do. After four straight months of record views on my blog, my traffic dropped by 35 percent in January, back lower than it was before the streak of records. I didn’t really need a sophisticated review of my metrics to know why: I didn’t blog as much in January. For much of February, I didn’t blog a lot either. I’ve been traveling and have a large backlog of blog ideas and haven’t posted as frequently as I’d like to.

But two strong posts still had my traffic at a pretty fair pace through the first three weeks of February. And it’s easy to see two lessons from them: (more…)

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