Marks Anderson (sorry, it’s been a long old week) has a right old go at how bad some journalists are over on Strange Attractor in a piece titled Blogging is like sex:
“The bottom line is that blogging is like sex. You can’t fake it. You can’t fake passion. You can’t fake wanting to engage with the public. If you do, it will ultimately be an unsatisfying experience for both the blogger and their readers. Sure, for a while, the self-confident writer might sit back after crafting a lovely piece of prose and have some post-creative puffery, patting themselves on the back for their performance. But soon, they’ll find their blog is a very lonely place.”
And in all of those things, he’s right. But what he doesn’t explore, or even suggest, is that these things can be taught – or, at the very least, learned. If there’s one thing that this job has taught me, it is that it’s harder to teach many journalists to be good bloggers than it is a random member of the public. They have too much to unlearn first, too many long-established mindsets to let go of.
But it can be done. And it can be done with great success. And sometimes, once the light goes on, journalists will throw themselves into blogging with all their resources, skills and, crucially, available time. And the results can be pretty damn cool. Good journalists care about their audience. Good journalists talk to their audience. Once they see how blogs fit into that, then they really get the idea.
I’m rather warmer to the idea that every journalist should have a blog than Kevin is. Journalism is, in the end, about providing information to an audience. And if you don’t care about an audience enough to want to interact with them, not only shouldn’t you be blogging, you shouldn’t be in journalism at all.