By Kevin O'Keefe

How journalists use blogs

MediaChannel.org has a brief, yet excellent, interview with Wall Street Journal tech reporter Nick Wingfield about how journalists use blogs in their jobs.

The highlights:

  • Journalists use blogs as tickler files when researching stories. Blogs break big news on occasions. That’s really useful to journalists.
  • In the days before blogs, trade pubs and newsletters would pick up on these types of stories – and the mainstream media would pick up the trades as tip sheets and not give them credit. Crediting has gotten better, but the point is that blogs can help journalists research story ideas.
  • Journalists use blogs as sounding boards – to see and hear how people in this fairly technical area think about a certain product or announcement. They’re not research tools exactly, but they give you a sense of what people think. Also, after stories run, journalists go to blogs to see reactions to it.
  • Journalists use blogs as digests of the day’s news. Blogs do good jobs of surfacing other stories in the mainstream media that Journalists may not have caught. This is useful in the RSS era – where journalists have a newsreader cherry picking headlines from blogs and it saves them a lot of time. They also see the things they are linking to on other sites that they might not have hit themselves.
  • Journalists don’t ‘flog the blog’ – they see blogs as useful websites. The blogs journalists use bear little resemblance to the personal and introspective diary blogs. The blogs reporters use aren’t that. Wingfield says its silly to conflate useful websites with real news information and rumors with those other kinds of sites.

80% of journalists have used blogs as sources of news and 40% use them at least once a week. Lawyers and law firms, if you are looking for good PR, look no further than an effective professional marketing blog.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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