Friday, February 6, 2009

Tips for keeping your blog fresh

Roland Legrand's recent post at Media Shift offers some good tips on keeping a newspaper website constantly updated without a huge staff. Legrand recommends a lot of things I think news orgs and bloggers alike should consider doing:

--Look for raw material you can post -- raw audio and video from meetings, for example.

--Live blog meetings -- just type up what's happening. You can "craft" a story later if you need to. Tracy Record at West Seattle Blog is genius at this. Seattle PI reporters have also started to do this with meeting coverage.

--Avoid time-wasters like complicated Flash graphics. EXCELLENT suggestion. Most of the time, hardly anybody clicks on this stuff -- or on videos either. In the time that you do one flash graphic you could get six more posts out there!

--Link out to others; curate the best mix of content, rather than try to write everything yourself.

Check out his full post here.

Here's a timesaver we use at

Shoot your videos and tape your audio so that you can post it with little or no editing. If the video is an interview with a source (this'll have low readership, generally, but is sometimes worth doing because it's important to the story) tell your source -- before you interview him -- that at the end of the interview you're going to ask him to give you a two minute version of the story for the video camera. Telling him about the video "quick take" coming up gives him time to think about what he'll include in his wrap up.

When you're ready to record his wrap up, warn your source that you won't be saying uh-huh, and "no kidding!" and giving him all the other conversational cues people are used to. (You don't want these to show up on the tape.) Then point the camera and cue him up.

This trick is a fabulous time saver. You'll be amazed how media trained most people are. Even people who have never or rarely been in front of the camera whip out a perfect take the first or second time. Result for you: no editing time. Clip at the front and the end. Post it.

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