Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chron is recruiting bloggers. But note that he’s looking not just for expertise and not looking for journalism degrees. He’s looking for passion.
No expertise required?
Would you like to tell the world about them? At Chron.com, we want to give you the chance to write about your passions, the things about which you consider yourself an expert, on our site.
You are absolutely right. Thank you. I was being sloppy and fixed that. Appreciate the editing.
Do you have a checklist of the things you consider absolutely necessary for a good MSM blog? Ie: community ownership, passion, voice, local, etc.
It would be interesting to make a poster of them, create The Mantras Of Jarvis with them.
Because if there’s anyone in tune with them, I think Dwight’s the man.
But the point is still valid nonetheless. I’ve been thinking a lot about the “passion” factor and blogging, as one of the most positive developments (at least in my semiprofessional opinion) of the new media is its blurring of the line between professionals and amateurs which was arbitrarily drawn by the culture of the 20th century workplace.
The scientific community was of course way out in front on this one, harnessing the power of amateurs and volunteers long before the advent of the blogosphere. Now of course everyone is catching on, from citizens’ journalism to Wikipedia and Squidoo. We are rapidly reaching a point at which one’s expertise is just as authoritative than one’s credentials, if not more so.
This is of course as it should be, though I suspect that we are still a long way off from the day when passion alone will get you the whole nine yards.
Personally, I translate this as: “we want to start blogs and sell ads next to them. We may or may not give you a share of the profits a la about.com. And, we don’t want any old generic crap blogs, we need ‘passion'”. I wonder if the Chron would let me indulge in my minor passion of discrediting their paper.
Instead of recruiting bloggers to write for the newspaper and hope the newspaper culture and copy desk doesn’t flatten their passion, why not draw attention to people who are already passionate — highlight the best writers/blogs in the Houston area?
Why not network with local blogs or even build a network? Help them build an audience?
Moreover, the Chronicle could include them in online web advertising deals; bundle arts and entertainment advertising packages and include ads on these blogs. Or, the Chronicle could wait for third party local ad networks to network local blogs and cut the Chronicle off from an ad market.
All this accomplishes a number of things: The Chronicle builds credibility with Houston area bloggers. Those bloggers in turn probably do more linking to Chronicle stories, give it feedback and return traffic to the newspaper’s site.
Locally-focused blogs are a very big growth segment. Local blogs have local readers. The vast majority of local blogs in DC, where I live, don’t write about politics — they write about the things they are passionate about it: their lives, job issues, child care, relationships, entertainment, neighborhood concerns, and a million stories of the trials and adventures of daily life. It’s a conversation by smart and talented people and it’s humanizing this city. But I’ve yet to see one newspaper that understands this and has built a model that embraces this community.
Embrace, don’t try recruiting or duplicating it. Just embrace it. A newspaper is local, too.
Why is this so difficult?
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