In a lecture this week with Adam Tinworth, Editorial Development Manager for Reed Business Information, publisher of magazines such as the New Scientist, Farmers Weekly, and (my personal favourite) Poultry World discussed how blogging has become an increasingly useful tool for journalists.
Although there is much talk in the industry of online journalism cannibalising print journalism, Adam Tinworth put forward the idea that the two are in fact very different models and should be used for very different things.
A blog is not a collection of opinion articles as many journalists believe, but actually a tool for sharing ideas with an interested audience and creating a discussion around that topic. Blogs rely on group discussion and participation; they are a two way experience about giving and receiving information.
Print journalism on the other hand is about informing your audience and/or presenting an opinion. Adam Tinworth put forward the comparison that print journalism could be described as a lecture to an interested audience whereas a blog could be a dialogue with interested friends.
He also pointed out that while print journalism relies very much on appealing to the widest possible audience, online journalism is about appealing to the niche.
Adam Tinworth cited the Farmers Weekly blog Taking Stock as an example. The site is incredibly popular and this is because it concentrates on the niche of livestock shows and sales. When people go online the are looking for something specific and the further you can narrow down their interest the more likely they are to become regular readers and indeed contributors to your blog.