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: