Six tips for journalists on launching a successful blog

by Valentina Gimenez

Many journalists want to start blogging but are wary of the time commitment and wonder about the outcome of all that work.

Enter reporter Jordi Pérez Colomé, who recently won the José Manuel Porquet prize for digital journalism. The jury said that his blog Obama Worldhas become an "essential reference" for analyzing international politics.

Here are some tips from Pérez Colomé on getting started.

Get experience. Pérez Colomé said he has started his blog "of necessity" after losing his job. "Losing your job helps you seek alternatives. You don't need to ask permission or own a press to start a media organization or a press to open a media. However, having some newsroom experience helps."

Create something new. "It's unrealistic to think that journalism succeeds only if it repeats what is already being done [by traditional media]. The advantage of the Internet is that the journey between an idea and implementing it is short. The disadvantage is that there is more competition...If you want your project to work you have to do something that hasn't been done or is being done wrong, tell it well and, above all, begin by doing something that you would like to read or see," he said.

Seek alternative funding. Pérez Colomé gave several examples of funding streams that he is already using or plans to start using. "A blog is an investment, especially in time...Today, the only option is to try what's available. I put the Paypal button on the site and it pays part of my travel. I went with digital books and they are selling. Soon I'll try long features published only in digital book form, and perhaps crowdfunding."

Build a brand. With a blog, reporters acquire visibility and a brand, which can help generate indirect income, he said. Some of the perks? He now teaches a journalism writing class, people call him for lectures or as a news commentator - and he won that prize of EUR€3,000 (about US$4,000.)

Experiment with multimedia and social networks. Never underestimate how much a photo or video can help tell a story. Pérez Colomé says he's not a great photographer, but now takes a camera with him everywhere he goes. He's on Twitter, but also looking to learn more about other social networks, too.

Pay attention to the hidden work. A blog requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work that may not come easy to a journalist but has an impact on the final product. This includes design, programming, advertising.

To read the whole post, in Spanish, click here.


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