From the National Writers’ Workshop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.:
Reporters from the newspaper triumvirate of South Florida came together as a panel to speak of the joys and dangers inherent in blogging.
Palm Beach Post entertainment columnist Leslie Gray Streeter, Miami Herald reporter Oscar Corral, and South Florida Sun-Sentinel sports columnist Ethan Skolnick, appear to agree on the following points:
-Blogging is a great way to write about tidbits that can’t or don’t make it into the print edition. Oscar Corral regaled us with the story of how he once posted a photo on his blog of the finely manicured feet of Alina Ferndandez, Fidel Castro’s erstwhile daughter. Her feet are apparently popular in Miami now.
-Get permission from your publication before starting a blog on the side–if you enjoy collecting a paycheck that is.
-Readers often form a small community in the blog’s comments. Like all small towns, there are disputes.
-Comments should not be filtered. Delete the comment if someone gets nasty or insults another reader. “You’re at the mercy of 15-year-old boys on the Internet,” Skolnick said. “It can get ugly sometimes.”
-Much of the fun in blogging lies in circumventing editors and in the immediacy of readers’ responses. “It’s like throwing a piece of meat into a piranha-filled pond,” Corral said.
-Don’t take the writing on your blog for granted. Streeter once got 90 comments from rabid fans of American Idol contender Kellie Pickler (See: Kellie Pickler, Evil Genius?). Streeter had suggested that Pickler was faking her whole “Ca-lah-mah-ree” bit. FOX News even reported on the comments in her blog. And on that note…
-People do not tend to distinguish the writing on a reporter’s blog from what runs in the print edition.
-Write shorter posts. Write plenty of posts.
-Ask questions to your readers.
Have anything to add to this fine list?