Posts Tagged ‘Niche’

Blogging to a different beat

April 7, 2010

I was thrilled to hear Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Deborah Blum’s advice to Grady journalism students last week. 

One of her main messages was the importance for journalism students to develop a national following writing about and to a specialized audience, primarily through the use of a blog. This has been a recurrent theme I’ve echoed throughout my introductory to news writing and reporting labs over the past year.

One of the largest assignments that the students work on throughout the semester are specialized beat blogs.  Students identify a niche topic they’re interested in, then follow other bloggers and write blog posts on their specialized beat.  They are also expected to promote their work and to build an audience to follow their work.  You can see last semester’s work under the “Resources” tab.  My current students’ beat blogs are a work in progress but they all should be active now.  Feel free to read, comment and follow along on topics ranging from women’s liberation to cancer awareness.  Their blogs are below:

Health Note_ Rebecca

Venir como adqua de mayo_ Melanie

VolunteerChangetheWorld_Christina D



Recession Trickling All the Way Down_ Alison

Serving Athens_ Nancy

Women’s Libber_ Kyle

Campus Candy_ Christina S

Cody’s Food Blog

I Beat Cancer, You Can Too_ Kaylea

The Daily Bread with Brooke

Szene der Katastrophe _Jonathan

Holly’s blog

Bulldawg Blawg_ Mitch

Bloggamundo_ Natalee

Specialize to Succeed in Journalism

April 7, 2010

Journalism students should embrace a specialty niche and success will surely follow.  That was the message a Pulitzer Prize -winning science journalist delivered last week at her alma mater.

“We’re in an age where journalistic specialists thrive in a way that generalists don’t,” Deborah Blum told Grady students during a pizza lunch in the school’s Drewry Room.

Niche publications are doing quite well right now, Blum said.  Journalism students can, and should, build an audience writing about a specialized topic that strikes their interests.

“Journalism is very communal and writing is very communal,” Blum said. ” If you’re working in a specialty you can start building a national community while you’re in college.”

Blum, past president of the National Association of Science Writers, recommended students join an organization with common interests.  The Council of National Journalism Organizations lists a variety of specialized organizations, many of which offer discounted student memberships.

 Blum advised students to:

  • Specialize at some level
  • Build a national profile (through blogging and freelancing)
  • Work for the student newspaper, get clips to get you to the next level
  • Be strategic, build your profile and make connections

 Blum, who maintains two of her own blogs and blogs for a true crime Web site, said that blogging allows students to hone their craft while attracting a national following.  Blogs allow students to write classic journalism mixed in with some of their own voice.