Adam Tinworth brought the I back into journalistic blogging at CJS this week.
He told us that publishing online does make money, that the market is all about the niche and that old school beat journalism is making a comeback. In short, blogging has facilitated the return of definining journalists by what they report on.
Using the example of Jon Ostrower, Adam explained how journalists can make their name by reporting on something that they find absolutely fascinating. The downside is, so can everybody else. So how do you define yourself in a world where your interest in a particular subject is twn million a penny? Enthusiasm, honesty, communication, information… they’re all the building blocks Adam gave us, but what I found the most interesting was the emphasis he put on being social. If you interact with your readers, your public, they will trust you more, more will follow you and you’ll being to carve your little intials on the great big world of your niche.
But what about the journalist who retreats from the face of what they report on? Who keeps themselves separate from their subject and goes home at the end of the day someone completely different? Why shouldn’t the journalist be entitled to their own private life?
To answer this I want to look back at the words of another guest lecturer at CJS, Charles Reiss, former political editor of The Evening Standard who spoke to us in our Reporters and Reported module. He stressed, among other things, that the root of people’s trust in journalists lay in their determination to ‘tell the complex truth.’ He also revealed some rather damning statistics on the current state of said trust… But even worse off than journalists are politicians – because, among other things, politicians spin. People feel they only get the slippery surface of a politician when they hear them speak. And this is why journalists need to be open, this is why journalists should put their all into their beat blogging if they are to have any chance of competing with people who blog on their own steam. Because if you show that you care about something more than you care about your own self-promotion people will trust you more and you will get a step closer to expanding those inconsequential little initials to a full-flowing signature.