I was just having a discussion on the phone, with my editor from work, about the key reasons journalists might want to make use of blogs (not to write them, but as a source).
I needed to condense the whole “there are dozens of great reasons…” argument down to a quick soundbite that could help journalists and editors understand the key ways they might be able to make good use of blogs, as well as other stuff posted on the internet, in their journalism.
Out roled the “3 C’s” of how journalists can engage with bloggers, using and linking to their content, to improve their own reporting:
Contacts: No matter what you’re writing or researching about, you’re bound to find bloggers who are informed, passionate, opinionated and insightful. Contact them to find out more.
Content: Some content on blogs is rubbish. A lot of it, in fact. But some of it is expertly researched, eloquently worded and creatively annotated. Journalists can contact the author and ask to use it, or excerpt it and link back.
Context: With most news these days coming from a small number of news sources (eg. AP, Reuters), bloggers offer sorely needed alternative viewpoints. Linking to them can help ensure that your audiences have access to a variety of views rather than just a single one.
Some people will look at the second and third of these, content and context, and wonder why a mainstream media organisation would want to link out to other websites. The answer is simple. Your audience comes to you to find information and stories about something they’re interested in. If they don’t find it, they’ll go somewhere else. By providing the links, they’ve found it through you, which means they might think of you the next time they’re looking for something.
Thanks [insert name of my editor at work here] for prompting the discussion that led to the consolidation of a lot of thinking into an easily manageable form! ;-)