SPJ Panel Convinces Me to Blog, Seriously

ORLANDO–  I guess I am officially deciding to keep this blog up with posts DAILY.   That’s what I’m learning from the “experts” at the 2010 Society of Professional Journalists Southeastern Regional Conference here in Central Florida.

On a panel entitled “Young Journalists: Innovating, Reinventing, Thriving,”  an online producer at the Palm Beach Post.com responded to an audience question about whether students should keep blogs, a common suggestion from newspaper editors.

Melissa Patterson, a graduate of University of Central Florida and now multimedia journalist, had some not-so-kind things to say about students who start a blog and rarely update it, or post with lots of misspelled words.

Her point– if you’re going to be out here on the Web, let the work that’s found be REALLY GOOD.

I agree.

While I started blogging five years ago at a media-related conference similar to this one, I have used this medium primarily for updates from events I’ve attended.   I’ll go for months without posting.

My last post on the original blog was in December of last year, after an extensive period of very infrequent posting.  Ironically, that was post was ALSO here in Florida, though a few miles up to the road in Jacksonville on what turned out to be an awesome weekend as the Alabama Crimson Tide topped the mighty Florida Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship.  That was the day we saw Tim Tebow’s tears.

Over the last five years, I have developed an archive of reflections and rants that however infrequent are still useful for contextualizing my thoughts even now.  But, it is time for me to STEP IT UP.

Posting daily?   Several times a day?   That’s what I would need to build up an audience.

Is that realistic for an academic researcher who is primarily focused on generating publishable scholarship for academic journals?

How much time does this take away from developing a book proposal?

I don’t have the answers to these questions.

I do know that I am finding social media and blogging are crucial components of workshops or seminars I now conduct.

One thing’s for sure– If  I do this every day (more often than I workout or exercise), I will continue to get more comfortable working in the blogging interface.

Like everything else, we can try this for 7 days and see what happens.

We’ll call it INTENSIVE BLOGGING 101.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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