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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

'My blog is a way to pitch stories for the newspaper'

The Beatbloggers - a group of US journalists experimenting with using social networking tools such as Facebook, Google groups, blogs and Twitter in their reporting - have posted an interview with New York Times writer Brian Stelter.

He talks particularly about how writing a blog differs from writing a print story. This is a subject that's come up a lot in conversation recently with journalists and journalists-in-training, so I thought I'd post some of his comments here.

"When I was first starting, it was a challenge to figure out what is a blog post versus what is a print story," he said.

He said his blog is a way to pitch stories for the paper, and to report out stories for the paper. He can write a short post for his blog and gauge the reaction. He can also spend days, weeks or even months reporting little tidbits before he puts it all together into a large story for print.

"It's frequently an archive for when I'm writing a story for the paper, so I can go back and use some of the thoughts I had three months ago for a story," he said about his blog.

Stelter has never known a non-wired world of journalism. He can't imagine not be able to use tools like his blog, Twitter or other social networks to help get instant feedback from readers. He really values the connectedness and feedback he gets from being wired.

"I think the big and most general advantage is it kind of makes it easier to share stories, ideas, links and to be able to ask for advice, contacts and sources," he said about being a wired journalists. "When I go on Twitter and post about what I'm writing about, I'm opening myself up to opinions, more points of view and more sources. That's almost always a benefit."

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