How journalists use blogs

Wall Street Journal tech reporter Nick Wingfield tells Bulldog Reporter how journalists use blogs in their jobs.

1. Journalists use blogs as tickler files when researching stories. "Blogs break big news on occasions," says Wingfield. "That's really useful to us. For example, the blogs were abuzz during the week of January 10th with leaks about what Apple's product plans were. People have dissed blogs about being hit-and-miss in terms of accuracy - but in that case, they really shined. They [blogs like ThinkSecret and MacInsider] had the most amazing product leaks I had seen, including [information about the] Mac Mini and the iPod Shuffle."

In addition: "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," Wingfield recalls. "Crediting has gotten better, but the point is that these [blogs] can help us research story ideas. In this case, I didn't really use [ThinkSecret or MacInsider] as tip sheets to do my story - but it helped me be prepared."

He adds this caveat, however: "The Journal broke the Apple Intel [chip] news two or three weeks before they announced the deal. We broke it - and the blogosphere reacted, so it goes both ways."

2. Journalists use blogs as sounding boards. "I also use blogs to see and hear how people in this fairly technical area think about a [certain product or announcement]," Wingfield continues. "Blogs will debate the merits and demerits of deals between companies, for example. They're not research tools exactly, but they give you a sense of what people think. Also, after our story [ran], I went to those blogs to see what their reactions were to it."

3. Journalists use blogs as digests of the day's news. "Blogs also do good jobs of surfacing other stories in the mainstream media that I may not have caught," Wingfield says. "This is useful in the RSS era - I have a newsreader cherry picking headlines from blogs and it saves me a lot of time. I also see the things they are linking to on other sites that I might not have hit myself."

4. Journalists don't "flog the blog" - they see blogs as useful websites. "The term `blogs' is meaningless in a way," Wingfield says. "Once they've become a useful tool, they're really just a bunch of websites with useful information. They bear little resemblance to the epitome of blogs - which is a very personal, introspective diary. The blogs reporters use aren't that." His point: "It's silly to conflate useful websites with real news information and rumors with those other kinds of sites."



1 comments about 'How journalists use blogs'

I generally use blogs to expose fake news and protest against unfair news treatment. This world is full of fools who think they can come away with the fruit of their evil ways. For example, some think they can use the vehicle of news to display a mocked-up charge and build along with that some fabricated news. Doing that, they make it appear that some event has happened which never did.

Add to this some businessmen who think they can make money by producing “news” that happened in the future! And since the news is dated in the future, the news is timeless and stays there forever on the website! Meanwhile, the businessman earns from ads from people peering into its queer WebPages of equally queer news! Oh! I could go on counting the ways some fools abuse media. And I blog to protest and expose – but oh! My blogspot got hacked!

Posted by Jane Abao at January 20, 2007 10:43 AM

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How Journalists Use Blogs
Trackback excerpt:   Nick Wingfield of the Wall Street Journal discusses ways reporters use blogs in the newsletter Journalists Speak Out on PR. [Read More]

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