Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Blogger - Tomorrow's Don Shelby?

Personality is an important thing when it comes to catching someone's attention. Make them laugh or cry, scared, awestruck or just generally impressed, a person with personality is usually able to command another person's attention better than someone lacking charisma. So it stands to reason that one quality you'd find in a journalist is a good, approachable personality.

For decades in TV news, that personality belonged to an anchor. If you look at the golden years of local news in Minnesota circa the '80's, you'd find KARE-11's Paul Magers duking it out with the about-to-depart Don Shelby from WCCO - both great news guys who knew how to command a viewer's attention with that oh-so-cool balance of stern sincerity that was broken occasionally, and always at just the right moment, with a little down-home humor. That was the media world of yesteryear.

In today's media world, it's not enough for a reporter to be polished. Today, there has to be a genuine connection between that reporter and his or her audience. There has to be give and take. Reporters have to listen to feedback (good and bad) and react to it appropriately. They have to write an occasional blog post that offers more to a story - or perhaps why they chose to tell a story in a certain way. They have to use all the new media tools available and facilitate on-going conversations with news consumers. Last but not least, they have to use that new media to show viewers, listeners and readers their personality. Reporters have to connect with news consumers and show them why they should be trusted with getting the facts right and giving them sound information to base decisions upon.

So is the blogger the new anchor? Maybe. More likely though, is that a good blog is just a solid tool in the arsenal of the modern reporter. A way to not only add to and clarify a story, but also an opportunity to add a little aweshuckedness and levity to what is (and should be) a serious topic - good journalism.


Want some examples? It's not all about personality alone. Check out this story from Mashable for examples of how a few journalists have used Twitter and Facebook to advance the quality and timeliness of their work.

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