Beyond the Blog Standard Part 2

I take back everything I said. I love online journalism. I will gladly embrace everything technological with open arms. Twitter, Mento, Delicious and other such webby bloggy thingies I previously thought were brands of sweets are now part of my everyday life.

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Why the sudden change of heart I hear you say? Well after attending the Society of Editors conference in Bristol this week, I now realise it is do or die. The buzz word from the conference seemed to be convergence, with most media panels stressing the importance of combining new skills (video skills, writing for multi-platforms and search engines etc) with core skills (shorthand, media law, public admin etc.)

I knew all this already of course, Glyn’s work hasn’t completely gone to waste over the last six weeks. But the defining moment came whilst networking with some media big wigs and Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian asked me “Do you have a blog?”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I was able to tell him that yes, I do have a blog (cheers Glyn) and he then went on to stress the importance of blogging, especially for trainee journalists trying to secure that all important first job.

This blog isn’t the first encounter I have ever had with online journalism.

When I worked for my local newspaper, I was enlisted to do a blog on “whatever I wanted”. Being the young, inexperienced blogger I was, this filled me with instant dread. What exactly would I write about? Who exactly would read it? Would anyone read it?

But I set to work, realising my audience would primarily be people from my hometown and maybe a few of my friends I had sent the link to. Things didn’t start off too badly. I had a few members of the public using my blog as a way to let off steam about a controversial article I wrote in the paper that week, which then went on to a scathing attack on myself. I found it quite amusing.

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This was my first encounter of the “conversation”(in reality it was more like a slagging match).

After a while I began to grow quite fond of my contributors as I noticed the same names would pop up week after week – I had my own little fan base.

Not wanting to let my public down, I struggled to find an interesting and engaging topic with which to amuse my new web friends as they logged on to my blog every Thursday – it was surely the highlight of their week. And struggle I did.

I started to judge the success of my blog on how much feedback I was getting. I had my high points and my very low points. Until slowly but surely, as my readers grew disinterested, so did I, and my first encounter with online journalism slowly ground to a halt.

Now I am much more experienced in the world of the web, and after Adam Tinworth’s lecture, I realise what I had done wrong.

A good blog should be inquisitive, communicative, honest, enthusiastic, social and informed. Was my blog any of these? My blog was not informed. It was sometimes inquisitive and communicative, and always honest, enthusiastic and social. However, my blog often bordered on ranting. Somewhere I could vent my frustrations about certain things, and this is perhaps where my failure lay.

What it lacked was subjectivity, pictures, links, videos and all those other things we are constantly being told make good blogs.

I would like to think my blog has come along in leaps and bounds since then, even since the first posting of this blog. As the weeks go by, hopefully it will go from strength to strength and people (including Alan Rusbridger) might actually start to read it!

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