Comments on stories is not blogging

Kevin Anderson writes that “blogging is not a publishing strategy,” which is correct, of course. He’s also right when he says that many newspaper leaders see blogging or podcasts as just another distribution channel. And he’s right to say that is wrong.

I do take issue with this, though:

I’m not saying that it’s a mistake to allow comments on the bottom of articles or columns. But that doesn’t change the fact that simply allowing comments on static content isn’t taking full advantage of blogging. It’s is treating blogging as a content-management system that allows comments. If that’s your goal, just adapt your content-management system to accept comments.

Comments on stories isn’t blogging. There may be newspaper leaders, who believe it is, but it’s not. Kevin, however, seems to be equating comments with blogging. Comments on stories is exactly that: Comments on stories. It is a way of having a conversation, if done correctly. It is a way of directly bringing community into the journalism. It is something all newspaper sites should and must do. To do it right is hardly simple.

Most newspapers do blogging poorly, of course, but that is unrelated to the comments on stories issue.

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4 thoughts on “Comments on stories is not blogging

  1. This seems like a straw man argument. After all, he never really says exactly what the strengths of blogging are before rushing off to the discussion of community engagement. I maintain that blogging is both a noun and a verb. The noun is the platform, the verb is the ethos of engagement (hyperlinking, frequent updates, personal tone, engagement with readers) that makes blogging different from an online column or story.

  2. Howard, yeah, we’re saying the same thing.

    And to expand on what I wrote in the post, newspapers are looking to blogging software (not blogging as an activity or cultural shift) to be a silver bullet and transform their static news sites into community sites. Blogging software does not a blogger make, nor does blogging software an online community make.

    Bryan, I’ve written another post on why news sites should blog. Why I blog, and why the MSM should and many times shouldn’t There are plenty of very justifiable reasons, both journalistic reasons as well as economic reasons, for news organisations to blog.

    But as both you and Howard point out, it’s not easy and actually takes some time and resource.

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