Session 2: How can journalists get and give value on blogs and social networks.

Session Convenor: Michele McLellan
Session Reporter: Jenn Hemmingsen
Discussion Participants: Sara Justicia Doll Liz Monteiro Tanja Aitamurto Ron Menchaca Karen Duffy Jeremy Iggers Leslie Fishburn Clark Laura Kessel Carol Zuegner Lou Ureneck

Do journalists have to differentiate themselves from bloggers?

Do they have to? Michele thinks they should be part of those communities.

Some newspaper blogs are tired excuses. But other journalists do it well. The education reporter at the Dallas Morning News uses it as a reporting tool – sends out questions and gets information from readers.

Tanja is a print journalist and she blogs. She doesn’t see that big of a difference. Blogging doesn’t have to be about opinions – it’s creating a new journalistic product.

Check out  — a site for journalist bloggers – aggregates blogs by community

How do you publicize and drive blog traffic?

Start a conversation with bloggers you like – link and be linked.

Comment on other blogs and refer them back to yours.

What is a journalist’s blog supposed to be?

Material that didn’t make the cut. Peeks behind the scenes.

Reporting on personal experience rather than opinion.

“Sometimes people think they have to be a ranter to have a blog,” Michelle said. “I disagree with that. I think you have to be a conversationalist.”

Jeremy: The rules are looser. You can write a lot more freely, conversational.

Michele: You’re giving a quick, focused thought in real time.  Another thing blogs do really well is just providing links to what’s out there: “There are linkers and there are thinkers.”

Jeremy is interested in ways journalists can connect with outside bloggers and social networkers –to engage neighborhood bloggers, etc.

Crowdsource – ask your community questions – use it as a listening device.

Lou Ureneck suggests: Serialize the blog with cliffhangers. Tell a story.

Michele thinks a key strategy is to go to other blogs and comment on them, so they know you’re aware of them. Then you can link to you.

Be smart about your keywords

Use Twitter to drive people back to the site


Jennifer’s paper uses it for a lot — including traffic updates and accidents

To build your clientele on Twitter, re-tweet something that a major Twitterer has said.

Social networks and blogs can help you build audience and it can improve your content.

“I think all a newsroom can do right now is build the audience,” Michele said.

Carol Zuegner thinks it’s important, too, because that’s where people are. At least if you’re there, you’re reaching an audience you have no other way of getting.

Think of different ways of delivering content.

There’s no single answer, just a bunch of tools

Can news organizations become the trusted referrers – where you’re not only producing content, you’re a curator for content.

Michelle Ferrier says you should take different approaches for geographical and topical communities. To promote her geographical site: “I ran it like a political campaign – I was walking the streets, I was shaking hands, I was pressing the flesh.”

Sources would see the stories on the blog and they got invested. She established “pool rules” after which readers could post their own content. Tend to your comments, so people know you’re hearing them and also to model a certain tone.

It’s important to get out of the one-way mindset.

Michelle Ferrier: How do you get and give value? You have to value people and relationships, as opposed to putting out a product and expecting people to follow you because it’s credible, or because it’s trustworthy.

About Peggy Holman

Peggy Holman supports organizations and communities to uncover creative responses to complex challenges using innovative engagement processes. The Change Handbook, co-authored with Tom Devane and Steven Cady, documents many such processes. The book is the considered the definitive resource for leaders and consultants working to increase resilience, agility, and collaboration in organizations and other social systems. Peggy co-founded Journalism that Matters in 2001 with three journalists to support the pioneers who are shaping the emerging news and information ecology. Peggy’s latest book, Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, supports people facing disruptions to invite others to join them in realizing new possibilities.
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