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Why community newspapers should blog (Guest post by Marcie Hill)

Guest post by Marcie Hill, Journalist/Professional Blogger for the community resource site Your Chicago South Side Resource & Founder/President of The Write Design Company

Many neighborhoods and communities have newspapers that provide information and resources that are relevant to them.  Because the journalists that write for these publications are from the community, residents tend to place a higher level of trust in these publications.  Unfortunately, many community newspapers have limited staffs and budgets and large amounts information to share.  To help remedy this situation, they should consider having a blog in addition to their print publication.  Following are seven reasons why.

  1. Create and control your own media. Most stories and events in individual communities are not covered by mainstream media. When they are covered, stories shown tend to be negative or missing great detail.  Blogging allows community papers to share positive information about the people, places and events in the community in any format they want.  Community members with writing skills may also contribute at some point. Ultimately, they control the media and the message.
  2. People who don’t live in those communities do not know what’s going on.  Reporting on blogs can dispel many untruths and exaggerations shared by mainstream media. This could also garner support from outsiders for issues relevant to the community.
  3. Blogs are another source of news distribution.  Many community newspapers that serve low-income residents tend to rely on print to get the message to this audience. They are missing out on a more tech savvy audience, which can ultimately expand the newspaper’s reach.
  4. Continue to build relationships with residents in the community. Blogs allow community newspaper to really listen to the issues and concerns of the people and have conversations with residents who stop by online. This will not only help build relationships, it will also give them more stories to report.
  5. Share information quickly.  Because many community newspapers tend to be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, a blog will allow them to share new developments and last minute information as soon as it is received.
  6. Become a news source for mainstream media. In addition to press releases, newspapers can send links to relevant stories to large media outlets on their sites.  Their online presence and the number of visitors to their sites will greatly increase.
  7. Generate another source of revenue through advertising.  Community newspapers can get advertisements from local businesses or large organizations that would like to reach members of the communities they serve, which will result in more revenue.

Blogs can be valuable assets to community newspapers.  In addition to reporting accurate and positive information about the neighborhood, they can expand their readership beyond their community.  Their online presence will ultimately result in increased credibility as a news source by local residents and worldwide audiences.

Whether you’re a community group or a community newspaper, blogs can be a great, informal way to tell your story. If you’re interested in learning more about blogging, check out our upcoming basic blogging workshop with former Tribune Reporter Teresa Puente.

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One Response

  1. [...] you can start your  own community newspaper or create a site where you  share information that’s most important to you. You can also [...]

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