OLD Media Moves

Smaller newspapers are business blogging as well

February 5, 2006

Although many large metropolitan newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News, Houston Chronicle and Denver Post have business reporters or columnists blogging, I’ve discovered that some smaller papers are also getting into the act.

At The Herald in Everett, Wash., just north of Seattle, they have had two business-related blogs for the past two years, according to business editor Mike Benbow, who e-mailed me today. Their technology writer, Eric Fetters, has one on the bio-tech industry, largely on companies that he covers. Bryan Corliss, the paper’s Boeing reporter, has one on aerospace.

Said Benbow: “Working for a 50,000 circulation newspaper, I was a bit concerned when we started about how much time the blog would take from my reporters’ ‘real jobs.’ The truth is, it’s well worth it. Both reporters say that putting in blog entries on items they will also write stories about helps them shape their leads and focus on what’s news, what’s plain fun and what’s trivia. In some cases it has also given them increased credibility with analysts who cover their companies and also are careful readers of their blogs.

“Our aerospace blog is routinely among the most-read elements of our web site, largely due to the fact that Boeing builds its 777, 767 and 747 jets in Everett and has thousands of employees here, many who typically hit Heraldnet on their lunch hour,” added Benbow. “In addition to credibility with analysts, the blog has helped us gain sources from the rank and file inside the plant that we never would have met.”

Check out the blogs at http://www.heraldnet.com/blogaerospace/ and http://www.heraldnet.com/blogbiotech/. I just looked at them, and they’re well done.

I find myself fighting with my colleagues on the journalism faculty about the fact that we need to start teaching more about blogs, but I’ve gotten some resistance to the idea. When small papers like the Everett Herald start blogging, you realize that this is not a fad that will die out. Blogs are a way to reach an audience that typically does not read the newspaper in a way that brings some of the personal touch back to the media.

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