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When Journalism and Blogging Collide: 7 Reporters’ Tactics to Make You a Better Blogger

Image via Flickr user Binuri Ranasinghe.

Image via Flickr user Binuri Ranasinghe.

This is a guest contribution from journalist and blogger Christian Toto.

Journalism appears to be a dirty word in 2014. Some people blast reporters for their perceived biases. Others say journalists simply protect the status quo rather than speaking truth to power. Everyone else is is fed up by reporters paying more attention to a twerking Miley Cyrus than the deficit or health care.

None of this means journalism skills aren’t a great way to separate your blog from the competition. In fact, blogging with Cronkite-colored glasses can help your site gain both trust and readers.

Here are seven ways bloggers can rely on journalistic tenets to enhance their brand:

1. Be Transparent

When you make an argument, link to reputable sources to support your case. If you make a factual error, own up to it in a clear manner like a newspaper correction. Readers forgive mistakes, but they’re less willing to trust a blogger who traffics in stealth edits.

2. Flash Your Expertise

Once upon a time – before the Internet upended journalism in toto – media outlets hired reporters with specific skill sets to cover topics like business, health and entertainment. Now, general assignment reporters work overtime to replicate the expertise these areas demand. Chances are you bring plenty of knowledge to your niche. That’s why you’re blogging about it in the first place. Don’t be bashful … show it off.

3. Sexy Ledes, Compelling Headlines

Readers have very short attention spans, and your best chance at grabbing them comes down to the headline and opening sentence (the “lede”). Make that headline sizzle without forgetting essential keywords. Better still, craft a killer first sentence that makes readers eager to keep reading.

4. Less Is (Much) More

When in doubt … cut. Edit extraneous words from every post. Rely on short sentences to break up a paragraph’s rhythm. Pluck out adjectives that aren’t mandatory. Your writing will be more powerful and readers will appreciate that you aren’t wasting their time.

5. Step Away from the Laptop

Bloggers were once dismissed as pajamas-wearing amateurs. We’ve come a long way since then, but a good blogger must put on a tie or business skirt now and then. Journalists attend rallies, cover protests and interview people in their niche. Do as they do. Writing a political blog? Sit in on a meeting of the local GOP party or capture a day in the life of a rising Democrat star. Blog about cooking? Attend a chef’s class and spot the way he holds a knife when cutting vegetables. Your writing will come alive, and you’ll pick up valuable sources along the way.

6. Don’t Trust Your Biases

Sometimes we want a story to be true so badly our inner skeptic takes a coffee break. Consider how many people share those faux Daily Currant headlines on Facebook. If a story feels too good to believe, double check it. As the saying goes, if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

7. Unearth Those Buried Ledes

A great way to generate story ideas is to read newspaper articles and find the missing angles or juicy nuggets buried after the jump. News judgment is subjective, and even ace reporters give short shrift to vital information now and again. When they do … pounce.

Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, film critic and blogger. He offers tips and tactics to his fellow fathers at http://daddylibrium.com.

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Comments

  1. Jayashree says:

    Thanks for these great insights to create an impact post with valuable content which will surely help to build our brand better.Being transparent will surely take us long way in building our brand. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  2. Hamza Sheikh says:

    I am just gonna be straight. These days, we often see people criticizing journalism and blogging together. Many bloggers here failed to understand what they have got under their belts, and how they need to react to real world things.

    I know there are many things, but seriously this post has illustrated what I needed to know. Being a blogger, and reporter, I see these hurdles.

  3. Michael says:

    Point number 1 alone is the biggest reason for success of a blogger. The more transparent you are, the more people will trust you in long run.Thanks for bringing in light this linkage between Journalism and Blogging so beautifully.

  4. Debarpan says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful post for us.Today I just got some great advice from this post of you.

  5. John Smith says:

    Thanks for the tips. Number 7 is an excellent Idea. I have noticed a lot of the news articles I read these days are brief and could use a lot more information…my turn to pounce I guess!

  6. Anna says:

    This is really a good post and I will learn your way for my site. All content should be helpful for visitors, it will forever be right. Thanks for your advice.

  7. Alison says:

    Let’s skip the reporter bashing. Many of us would much rather write about health care than twerking, trust me, but the reality of publishing and journalism today is that the massive traffic from Miley Cyrus story is what is generating the page views, visitors, and revenue required to employ that health care reporter. Want more substantive stories in your news feed? Start by clicking on those links and ignoring the latest from Miley.

  8. Alison says:

    Let’s skip the reporter bashing. Many of us would much rather write about health care than twerking, trust me, but the reality of publishing and journalism today is that the massive traffic from the Miley Cyrus story is what is generating the page views, visitors, and revenue required to employ that health care reporter. Want more substantive stories in your news feed? Start by clicking on those links and ignoring the latest from Miley.

  9. Sunday says:

    Good blogging cannot separated from good journalism! It is vital that the blogger understands the presumed tenets as discussed in this post. I share with the opinions and I am really sure that following these tactics can help enhance the credibility and authority of a blog.

    This comment was shared in kingged.com – the social bookmarking and content syndication website for Internet marketers where this post was shared.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/journalism-blogging-collide-7-reporters-tactics-blogger/

  10. I agree that there are some good traits and characteristics of journalism, which when incorporated into blogging, can bring up awesome results! Those traits, which one should look for are well described in this post.

    Keeping it straight, short and to the point is what will help a lot, I guess. Cutting down on useless words and keeping it simple, just like a good journalist will help for sure.

    Transparency is also a key trait to be included.Making use of reputed sources, accepting mistakes in case you make one and making endeavors to correct those mistakes- these actions are well appreciated by readers.

    I found link to this post on Kingged. I’ll be up-voting and Kingging it there also.

    Arun