Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Blogging and Reporting 

John Udell, a long-time tech journalist, has written an interesting discussion of how blogging helps him as a reporter.

His uses his blog to announce and validate an idea for an article and to help him find resources to report it. When it comes to finding experts, here is what he has to say about PR people. It isn't flattering:

When a story appears on the editorial calendar, I'm swamped with phone calls and emails from PR folk who want to supply me with analysts, executives, domain experts, and customers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I sometimes accept these opportunities, and in some cases, I learn from them. It's dangerous, though, to be led down the path of least resistance. So I rely on the blog to find other people who have important things to tell me. As you can imagine, this makes PR folk really nervous. It's their job to try to control my story. It's my job to route around that control, and the blog is a tremendously powerful tool for doing that.

He also uses his blog to talk with vendors whom he requests to correct his views before he commits them to paper. And, he is smart enough to know that when he involves readers, his blog entries promote the story that will eventually appear. After the article is published, he uses the blog for analysis, feedback and enhancement of the original story.

In other words, Udell's blog is an integrated part of his reporting and publishing. It's a great way to work and one PR practitioners could imitate -- especially in internal communications.

One last note. His thoughts about PR and story control interest me because I have just finished an essay on that topic. I shall post it in a day or two for your comment.


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