the importance of engaging with the audience

Tish Grier, blogger and editor of the Corante Media Hub, has today posted an article on Annenburg’s Online Journalism Review that aims to help traditional print journalists understand the importance of engaging users responsibly as they tranisition to the web:

Asking reporters to blog, and to then interact like successful bloggers, is perhaps at this point in time asking for a quantum leap in the ways in which reporters have been instructed to perform their jobs. Misperceptions about blogging abound — in part because of the constant negative attention that is given to contentious comments and snarky blogs as much as it comes from simply not knowing the community. Focusing on the negatives, however, only serves to feed a fear of interaction. Positive interaction can occur, but reporters must first cultivate a non-confrontational temperament and other subtle skills — such as interpretation of syntax and a level of transparency — if they are going to interact successfully.

Grier’s article includes some useful soundbites from so called leading bloggers who provide some interesting insights into the importance of engaging with the audience in the appropriate manner. Much of the fear and uneasiness she talks about is mirrored in the recent Georgina Henry article in the Guardian.