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16 Ways The News Media Can Use Blogs

This is not a complete list of how the news media can use blogs, but it provides several ideas for journalists who are scratching their heads about how to launch blogs that serve a purpose other than as another distribution channel for content.

(1) Solicit ideas for coverage
Make readers/viewers/listeners feel a part of the editorial process; turn a show over to them. They can participate via a blog.
Examples: BBC's World, Have Your Say and PRI's Open Source

(2) Request feedback on how to shape an editorial product
Does your news organization want to develop a new product?  Ask the people who will use for input.
Examples: NPR's Rough Cuts for new show development and The Economist Group's Project Red Stripe for a new innovative web product

(3) Host public blogs
Expand coverage by allowing normal folk to share news in their neighborhoods as well as their opinions, photos, analysis, and news.
Examples: Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Utah's Daily Herald, and Fox 13 in Salt Lake City

(4) Provide ongoing coverage
Allow reporters and producers to continue covering a story that may not make it to print or air all the time.
Example: The New Yorker's New Orleans Journal

(5) Foster interaction between journalists and citizens
Enable normal folk to hold journalists — especially commentators — accountable for their work.
Example: The Guardian's Comment is Free

(6) Cheaply report news about niche interests
People are interested in fishing, knitting, and wine.  Why not regularly cover these interests with a blog?
Examples: USA Today's Today in the Sky for airline junkies, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Venture Blog about venture capital and startups, and The Sydney Morning Herald's The Backpacker for international backpacking travel

(7) Request help from the public on covering a story
Need help covering a story or digging up data?  Ask the public for information and assistance.
Example: ABC's The Blotter — think about the Mark Foley Scandal

(8) Get experts to interact
Blogs are a great way for experts to interact together to discuss an issue.  A blog is a platform where the public can see the debate and the nuances of their arguments and disagreements.
Example: The Washington Post's Post Global

(9) Get non-journalists to report on their areas of expertise
Not all experts or eyewitnesses are journalists, and even non-journalists have much to offer an editorial product.
Example: The Washington Post's and Newsweek's On Faith

(10) Provide sneak peaks of upcoming stories
Tease the public on what's to come.
Examples: CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Blog and NPR's Blog of the Nation

(11) Allow journos to share their interests and passions
Journalists are best when they are personable so that the public can relate to them.
Example: France 24's Inside the Newsroom

(12) Share internal memos and briefings with the public
Some people in the public love to see what notes are passed around in the newsroom.
Example: CNN's Political Ticker

(13) Defend editorial decisions
Not everyone is happy about how a story is covered — or not, for that matter.  Defend these decisions or reveal the internal debate about how a story was handled via a blog.
Example: BBC's The Editors

(14) Provide case studies for issues of public interest
How can a news organization provide a case study about an issue that it covers? By using a blog.
Example: Men's Health's The Bret Baier Project tracks how a Fox News correspondent sheds some pounds

(15) Share what you're reading
What are newsroom staffers reading?  Perhaps the public would like to read these items as well.
Example: The American's Marketplace of Ideas

(16) Publish content that didn't make it on air or in print
If your organization gathered and prepared content that wasn't released, why not post it to a blog if it is otherwise fine?  The investment was already made.