Since I began my blog last January for my Digital Media Convergence class, it has served as not only a means of showcasing the work I have done for school and for The Pendulum, but also to hone my skills as an effective communication. In many ways, I used it as a means of simply taking my ideas and just getting them out there – my posts aren’t detailed, formulated essays but rather they are my raw thoughts of the day, my basic emotions, what I experienced. The posts allow me to keep up the craft of writing without necessarily writing a news article for the paper each and every day.
Before we left for Louisville, Jack and I have been discussing the idea of starting a blog for the News section, that would not only cover the news of the day, but also be structured into beats, including SGA, crime, Town of Elon, university administration, etc. Before this year, I hadn’t really thought of blogs as a means of actually gets news out there – rather, I thought of them in much more personal terms. They’re mean for one person to write, not for a group of contributing writers to post to on a daily basis. But after this discussion, led by a prominent blogger, I realized that blogs are meant for so much more than just throwing words onto a page, they can be used to reach a targeted audience with a very specific message!
I left this session with so many great ideas for I want our “Pendulum News Blog” to grow and I’m so excited to start discussing these ideas with the rest of the staff. In so many ways, news organizations are increasingly required to reach beyond just the print versions of their papers. We have seen this in the need for journalists to be versatile in all skills of communication, such as photography and shooting video, beyond just the basic skill or reporting with a pen. I would argue that blogging is the necessary next step for us, as a newspaper, to continue reaching the people of Elon’s campus and the surrounding community. The speaker discussed the importance of voice, in particular, when writing a blog. While it may be hard to establish a voice in the news-writing of our paper, I envision a blog where students and community members come to read posts by writers who have an established, memorable voice. After all, our reporters witness firsthand the daily activities of the university and town, and they know these events like no other. Beyond the straight news story, I’m excited to give reporters the chance to share more of what they learn from the interviews they conduct and events they attend.
Some of the key things I learned from this session include:
-Make a Facebook fan page and share it with all of your Facebook friends
-Post when it makes sense to post – don’t post twice a day for a week and then disappear for a month without a post
-Use your voice as a writer (be a human being!), but don’t forget about good reporting
-Maintain your readers’ trust and don’t forget to engage them in your writing!