Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The whirlwind continues with all things blogs

I have a blog called Wolf Tracks, which you might find interesting if you love all things Lobos. I cover the University of New Mexico football and men's basketball teams for The Albuquerque Tribune. While I've already had my own adventure in blogging, I love hearing from others about the ingredients of a good blog. I think anyone who has visited blogs knows there's the good, the bad and the ugly out there for all to see.

Kate Kennedy, of the Freedom Forum, introduced our blog speakers. She said while doing research, she learned last month was the 10th anniversary of blogs and more than 70 million blogs exist today. I thought those figures were pretty astounding.

Our speakers were Bridget Gutierrez, an education reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who runs the super-popular blog Get Schooled, and Jamie Gumbrecht, a culture writer at the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky who runs another popular blog called It's All About.

Some of their tips for successful blogging included being consistent to help build your audience. Posting at least daily is important. It's also good to introduce topics that inspire discussion.
At their best, they said blogging regularly will expose you to new sources and ideas.

Then they got into the downfalls. They said it's important to set up boundaries because maintaining the blog can easily be a 24-hour job when it happens to be one of many duties at our newspapers. It also makes you even more of a target for complaints, so you must have thick skin. They also encouraged newspaper bloggers to be very careful to follow the same ethical guidelines they do with their print work. I found it very interesting that these reporters, like myself, do not have their blog posts edited. Their editors sometimes do read the information after they are posted. Gutierrez said the process makes her nervous, but the time crunch and lack of resources at newspaper make it a necessity. Gumbrecht said reporter/bloggers have to be careful, but too much emphasis on editing hurts the free-flowing and conversational quality of a blog. I have had experience with initially having my blog posts edited before publication, and I think it works much better without editing on the front end. I see the danger for publications, but I think editors have to read after it's published and be picky about who they trust with blog responsibilities.

-- Iliana Limón, The Albuquerque Tribune

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