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How to blog as a media resource on a breaking story

March 15, 2007

Your blog is an excellent way to act as a resource for the media on a breaking story they’re covering. Something impossible to do with a website, email, or a press releases. Best of all, it can be done without leaving your office or your family room, if it’s during the evening.

Though not a law blog, here’s an example from last night. Yesterday the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks fired their head coach. Word started circulating that he would be replaced with Larry Krystkowiak, one year removed from being head coach of the University of Montana Grizzlies.

My son, Colin, a journalism student at the University of Montana, covers University of Montana Sports via his Grizzloulian Blog and is an avid Grizzlies hoop’s fan. He started seeing an increase in traffic to his blog yesterday from people, media included, looking for information on who the heck Larry Krystkowiak is. Net users were drawn by Colin’s prior posts on Krystkowiak and then regular Krystkowiak posts, with Larry Krystkowiak tags, the last couple days on Krystkowiak’s coaching opportunities for next year.

When Krystkowiak got the job as Buck’s coach last night, traffic to the Grizzloulian spiked. As a courtesy to the media, Colin started pulling together a Larry Krystkowiak media backgrounder in the form of a blog post.

Members of the media as well as other bloggers, who then signaled Colin as a source by referencing his blog in their blog posts, picked up Grizzoulian RSS feeds on Krystkowiak by just monitoring the keyword Krystkowiak and tags on same. They also did ‘Larry Krystkowiak’ searches on Google Blog Search and Technorati for up to the minute coverage on the story. For other interested media members Colin dropped them an email informing them of the backgrounder.

How did Colin get all this content? Google and searches in newspaper archives for the newspapers published in cities where Krystkowiak previously played and coached basketball. These searches uncovered great Krystkowiak quotes and stories. All relevant information as to what made Krystkowiak the right person for the Buck’s job. The stuff sportswriters love to have, but not the time to get when they don’t know where to dig – they haven’t been covering Grizzlies basketball and Larry Krystkowiak for the last couple years like Colin.

You’re not covering professional sports on your law blog. That’s okay. But when a news story relevant to your blog’s focus breaks or, better yet, when you see one coming a day ahead, start blogging it. Start scouring the net, look in newspapers, and anywhere these sources send you.

You need not write long posts, just do bulleted lists (see Krystkowiak media backgrounder) pointing other bloggers and the media to the stories, quotes, and background information you found. If you have the time to write a post with your take, do so. Even better, try to get a quote from a contact you may have that no one else does. Tag your content. Let the media know by email that you’ve prepared this resource.

Citizen journalism. PR. Marketing. Reputation enhancement as a reliable and trusted authority in your niche. Good stuff.

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