Online news blogs: Top Ten Tips

Through piece by Mark Glaser on setting expectations and managing the flow of blogs associated with online news sites.
In addition to Glaser’s sensible tips, I’d offer the following top ten tips for newspaper thinking about blogs:
1) Whose blog is it anyway?
There’s a profound difference between a blog published as the equivalent of an online column, as many MNSBC.com blogs are, and a blog that’s a community outpost, as some of the blogs on Advance Internet sites.
They deserve different rules and different expectations.
2) Voice-and opinion– rule the blog format
While Dan Gillmor is revered because the quality of the information in his blog is so good, blogging is an personality-driven format where voice-and opinion–rule.
3) Remember, blogs are timely and interactive
It’s not just a web page. Blog power comes from an author’s ability to quickly post in reaction to an event or an idea–and readers’ ability to respond, both in a comments section and in their own blog.
4) Set standards and publish them
Just as workplace blogs need to have specific guidelines and frameworks, so should online news blogs. Whether your blogs are by columnists or community members, there should be guidelines and ground rules that everyone is aware of.
5) Be a glorious mosaic
Online news sites are often determined not to publish anything that will deviate from the official voice of the news outlet.
Remember that blogs not only provide an outlet for reporters’ additional notes and commentary, they can be features in and of themselves, offering ideas and opinion from a wider sphere. This makes for an invigorating–and empowering–experience.
6) Be flexible–Allow blogs to be temporary
It’s a blog, not the OED–a blog is able to live for a short time frame and then be retired. Unlike a column, which might need several months to find an audience, a blog is a short form by its very nature, and as such, can be deployed for a few weeks and retired.
7) Permit the personal
BBC reporter Ivan Noble’s blog about his battle with a brain tumor is one of many health-related blogs news outlets have published in the past two years.
8) Blog up and down the hierarchy
How many times do we have to hear that people want human faces and human voices online before we act on that knowledge?
The new blog from the Editorial Board of the SacBee was a terrific response to the editing flap. Jeff Jarvis’ blogging invigorated an entire company (disclaimer: I used to work for Jeff). . Reporter’s blogs have man on the street credibility, authority and value: viz the Seattle Spokesman Review’s transportation blog by Amy Cannata.
9) Just do it–be consistent
If you’re going to blog, blog. That means posting a pre-determined minimum number of times per week and letting your audience know what that is. Don’t embarrass your paper and yourself with “blogs” that update maybe once a month. Why did you bother?
10) Break new ground–try out this disruptive technology
The first online news sites launched on the web 10-11 years ago. Few of them had feeds, let alone integration with the newsroom. Since then we’ve seen 56% of the population go online, and experienced increasing percentages of Americans get their news on the Internet, especially during the day, when they’re at work.
Remember, this medium is still new, and still experimenting.
Let your site be a part of the experiment–label the experiment as such–but don’t be afraid to try something new.