Guest Post – What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists

Anita This is a guest post by Anita Bruzzese

I have a lot of fun reading blogs and often learn a lot. But as a trained journalist, sometimes I see things in a blogger’s copy that bugs me a bit, and sometimes I read stuff that makes me cringe. Some of it just confuses me, and some of it appalls me. So, when Chris asked me to write a guest post on what bloggers can learn from journalists, I decided to make a list:

What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists

  1. It takes time to gain trust. If you post something that has an “agenda,” be upfront about it. Being deceptive, unethical or manipulative may get you short-term results, but the long-term impact to you and your efforts will be detrimental. Most big stories by journalists have come only after they spent months or even years getting a source to trust them.

  2. You are what you write. Whether it’s 300 words or 60,000 words, you have to make sure it’s accurate. A Pew Centre survey on bloggers found that while 34 percent of bloggers consider their writing to be a form of journalism, only 56 percent “sometimes or often” spent extra time trying to verify facts. Always double-check the spelling of a name, the name of an organization, dates, etc. If you want to be taken seriously by those outside the blogosphere, you’re going to have to verify your facts 100 percent of the time.

  3. Use attribution. Journalists are trained to always provide a source for their material. This helps put the information in context, and tells the reader you’re not just making up stuff. It shows that you have a dedication to getting it right.

  4. Step away from the computer. It’s easy these days to think that all questions and answers begin and end on the Web, but don’t insulate yourself that way. Talk to people on the street. Listen to conversations in checkout lines or while waiting for a movie.  Learn how to ask questions of people outside your circle of friends and acquaintances – that’s what will net you a golden nugget of information that no one else has. Anyone can regurgitate what they get from Google. It’s the effort to get original information and look beyond the obvious that grabs attention and respect.


  5. Look for the news peg. Journalists have always known they’ve got a limited amount of people’s time, so they need to make sure no one says “so what” when reading a story. If you tie your information to a current event, it makes the story more relevant for them. For example, if you have a “green” company, then Earth Day is a perfect time to use it as your “peg” to attract attention.

  6. Be consistent. Journalists use the Associated Press Stylebook, a rulebook we use to make sure our “style” is consistent. (For example, we write out numbers less than 10, and use numerals if it’s 10 or more.) You don’t have to use this stylebook, but you should understand it is distracting when your writing style is all over the place.

  7. Precision is key. If you carefully consider each word and each sentence, then you’ve put yourself in another realm as a writer. Precision helps you gain respect and legitimacy because is shows you’re taking your writing and reporting seriously, even if you’re writing humor. At the very least, consult a dictionary, thesaurus and grammar book. All the Web site flash and dazzle in the world won’t cover up poor writing riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes. Trust me: If there’s one typo, one spelling error, someone is going to call you stupid.

  8. Just get on with it. You may hate me when I tell you this: I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’ve never once sat down at a keyboard and had a blank brain. Here’s the key: Just blurt out loud the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your subject. This is a technique taught to all first-year journalism students, and it has never failed me. The point is not to labor over your lead. Once you get something down, you can get on with the rest of the story. If you “overwrite” your lead, readers will quickly lose interest and move onto something else. And one more point: Deliver what you promise. Don’t sensationalize your lead and then fail to back it up with the information in the story.


  9. Rewrite. One of the most important parts of any good story is the rewrite. When I wrote my second book, I spent three months writing it and three months editing it. I put on five different hats when I read the copy: 1) as writer I made sure the copy flowed easily; 2) as a reporter, I made sure the copy included solid facts and sources; 3) as a copyeditor, I made sure I used proper grammar, correct spelling and looked for ways to tighten the copy so that it was concise; 4) as a workplace/career journalist, I made sure I was giving people information they wouldn’t find elsewhere; and 5) as a reader, I made sure that even if I knew nothing about the subject, it was still clear. (By the way, don’t try and put on all these hats at once. You’ll lose focus and get confused.)

  10. Understand you’re creating history. That may sound dramatic, but it’s true. Your writing will last forever. Don’t abuse the privilege of being able to record the events and feelings of our day. With every word you write, you’re leaving a record for future generations, and that’s not an assignment anyone should take lightly.


Anita Bruzzese is a syndicated columnist for Gannett News Service and USAToday.com. She is the author of two books, including “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy,” named one of the top 10 most notable books by the New York Post. Her website is www.45things.com, and she can be reached at anita@anitabruzzese.com

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  • http://www.russellcavanagh.com/2/ Russell Cavanagh

    Great post full of good information. My paid journalism differs from my blog posts in that the latter tend not to put the “who, why, what, where, when” at the forefront. I’m going to try to be more consistent with this after reading the poat.

    Thanks again (from the UK).

  • http://www.russellcavanagh.com/2/ Russell Cavanagh

    Great post full of good information. My paid journalism differs from my blog posts in that the latter tend not to put the “who, why, what, where, when” at the forefront. I’m going to try to be more consistent with this after reading the poat.

    Thanks again (from the UK).

  • http://www.russellcavanagh.com/2/ Russell Cavanagh

    … or even … “post” … “three months editing” … !!!

  • http://www.russellcavanagh.com/2/ Russell Cavanagh

    … or even … “post” … “three months editing” … !!!

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  • jorge caseiro

    hi anita
    im sorry but nowadays it seems that there´s no difference betwen bloggers and journalists, with the last descending to the former´s level. this rises the question, what are good journalists dooing now?bloggers on the other hand are web like content: it goes with the wind and most times can not be trusted.but can we trust what we read in the papers??

  • jorge caseiro

    hi anita
    im sorry but nowadays it seems that there´s no difference betwen bloggers and journalists, with the last descending to the former´s level. this rises the question, what are good journalists dooing now?bloggers on the other hand are web like content: it goes with the wind and most times can not be trusted.but can we trust what we read in the papers??

  • http://www.russellcavanagh.com/2/ Russell Cavanagh

    I partly agree with Jorge. Bloggers tend to have few ethical concerns or grasp of journalistic basics. However, redundant journalists are more likely to become PR officers – lol! – and let’s face the truth that many journos are towing an establishment line required by their proprietors and advertisers …

  • http://www.russellcavanagh.com/2/ Russell Cavanagh

    I partly agree with Jorge. Bloggers tend to have few ethical concerns or grasp of journalistic basics. However, redundant journalists are more likely to become PR officers – lol! – and let’s face the truth that many journos are towing an establishment line required by their proprietors and advertisers …

  • http://www.nagornyy.com/ V1ktor

    Great article! BUT did anyone else notice this, “Precision helps you gain respect and legitimacy because is shows you’re taking your writing and reporting seriously, even if you’re writing humor.”

    I'm very detail oriented and noticed that “is” should be “it”. =p It's just ironic.

    Anyways, good info.

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  • hannry

    hey anita i like your way of expression of things and it is really great story thank for the information

  • hannry

    hey anita i like your way of expression of things and it is really great story thank for the information

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  • TRUTH

    the truth is often hard to accept. You can never tell someone the truth against what they have already been told and expect them to believe it right away, they must verify a wide range of topics Lies don't last long under scrutiny In the long run, the truth ends up standing out for those peaying attention I've learned the truth about things like fluoride, vaccinations, false flags, the Iraq and Afghan wars, history, assassinations, oil, the Constitution, law, the court system, politics, gold, the media, corrupt politicians, the Federal Reserve Banks and much more, relying on mainstream media for news is ignorant most mainstream media is deceiving our nation it is a shame to see truth and open discussion suppressed in favor of political expediency if you speak the truth your labeled a conspiracy theorists and as soon as the public hears those
    words your dead in the water, conspiracy theorists speaking lets research and see what happens
    425,000 cubic yards of concrete and 200,000 tons of steel were designed to hold up against a Boeing 707, the largest plane built at the time the towers were completed in 1973. Analysis had shown that a 707 traveling at 600 miles an hour (and those had four engines) would not cause major damage. The twin-engine Boeing 757s that hit on 9/11 were going 440 and 550 miles an hour.
    “gravity driven collapse” without demolition charges defies the laws of physics. These buildings fell, at nearly the rate of free-fall, straight down into their own footprint, in approximately ten seconds scientists found chips of nano-thermite peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal, in April 2009 Think long and hard about what is happening around us America who thinks all threats to the American Dream are from external sources The threat from within is so imminent and such a large elephant, and so in-the-open that many fail to see it
    Xe Services (formerly Blackwater), Haliburton, KBR, Carlysle Group, Raytheon, DARPA, Dept of Defense, and Dept of Homeland Security, for starters. 9-11 has resulted in Hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue to these entities. Time to start thinking, researching and answering your own questions while the internet is still uncensored organizations that are really running this country: Big Banking, Big Business, Big Government Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain On Sept. 6, 2001, the Thursday before the tragedy, 2,075 put options were made on United Airlines and on Sept. 10, the day before the attacks, 2,282 put options were recorded for American Airlines. Given the prices at the time, this could have yielded speculators between $2 million and $4 million in profit “Owner” of the WTC, Larry Silverstein collected; In February of 2002 Silverstein Properties won $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. Silverstein Properties' estimated investment in WTC 7 was $386 million. So: This building's collapse resulted in a profit of about $500 million.
    A federal jury ruled that the assault on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center was in fact two occurrences for insurance purposes. The finding in U.S. District Court in Manhattan means leaseholder Larry Silverstein may collect up to $4.6 billion, according to reports I would guess that would be a great place for you to start when it comes to trying to follow the money. You know what they say, you want the “Truth”? Follow the money. In long before the enormous corporate mergers of the past decade, the then Chase Manhattan Bank held 5.2% of the voting stock of Mobil Oil and 4.5% of Atlantic Richfield (now Arco). Through ownership of shares or membership on Boards of Directors, the Rothschild, Rockefeller, and Morgan families also controlled the largest U.S. insurance, pharmaceutical and food corporations in 1972.
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    The people who actually have power in any highly established government/corporation of any country, (and by this I mean the few at the very top layers of our social structure, those in a position where money has no meaning and is mearly a tool of control over the herd) can do what ever they desire. We then have to pick up the pieces. Yet sadly by the time transparency is achieved over a matter, BANG – a new event unfolds. americans have had the worst brainwashing/indoctrination on the planet (it seems to me anyway) hence this sort of thing is unimaginable to most americans, yet the rest of the world have known for decades.(think of all those american flags that have been publicly burnt, these people dont just burn flags in their spare time for a laugh I can assure you.) Think about it.
    we will have another false flag but i'm not as conserned about that as i am about the plans for us look in your own back yard whats
    happening is comming faster and faster just some of us can see the ground before others and when we hit its not going to look good
    any body want some ketchup thats not good for you it could be dangeries its gatt to much truth syrup in it you might not like the taste
    but as they say never know until you try it (i'm just a tiny little fish with some really big sharks trying to eat me just trying to stay ahead of the game and warn others) thank you for taking time to read this may the truth be told

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