I’m going to go off-topic for this post. I went to a blog conference Friday called BlogOrlando. It was the first online journalism conference I’ve ever been to, and it was pretty informative.
Surprisingly, my favorite session was about hyperlocal blogs. Tommy Duncan, who owns Tampa’s hyperlocal blog called “Sticks of Fire,” ran the session and taught about the importance about having blogs for specific communities.
Hyperlocal issues don’t usually excite me as much as national topics, but Duncan really impressed upon me how important hyperlocal blogs are. While newspapers have to keep up with stories that affect most of the people all of the time, community blogs add a new opportunity to get more specified information to more people.
Another interesting aspect is how community blogs function using multiple writers who already actively collect and distribute news, whether they have their own blog or are simply a good source of information.
Readers’ opinions are also heavily valued in blogs. In print journalism, there really isn’t a way to get the feedback from your readers. Blogs give readers a way to comment and let us know how to improve our reporting or even show us a side to a story we might not have considered.
We write so people can read. Without our readers, we don’t have much. I think a lot of journalists forget that.