Blogs as varied as bloggers themselves

‘You just never know what is going to grab interest’

By Pat Winters Lauro
Kean University


Drake University student Rachel Weeks was midway through spring semester when a blog post she wrote for a magazine writing course about turning a T-shirt into a tank top hit Internet gold – 60,000 hits.

MugLogo_Lauro“She posted a picture to Pinterest and it just exploded,” said Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor at Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Des Moines.  “It was eye-opening.  You just never know what is going to grab interest.”

Now that even the Pulitzer Prize has been bestowed on a blog — The Huffington Post for investigative journalism — it begs the question:  what makes a good blog?

First, blogging is not journalism; it’s a delivery system. Many blogs are promotional in nature or advocacy blogs, an important distinction for students.  But within the profession, what makes a good journalistic blog depends on the type of blog it is, which can be as different as the sports page is from the op-ed page in a newspaper.  Still, Weeks’ post, the blog equivalent of a service feature, possessed common blog elements that resonated with its audience: it was concise, targeted a specific audience and it was interactive.

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Social media use forces the question: Where do you draw the ethics line in the cloud?

By PAT WINTERS LAURO

The Journalists Code of Ethics has long been a bible for reporters, but following its rules in the world of social media is complicated. In a breaking story, do you re-Tweet important information without confirmation? What about the sticky matter of personal online identities?  These are the kinds of questions leading college media outlets to address ethics guidelines specifically for social media.
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To friend or not to friend: Buddying up with students on social media is up to you

By PAT WINTERS LAURO

To friend or not to friend your students?

The answer, says Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, is that it’s your call.

In high school, where students are under the age of 18, it’s generally accepted that teachers should not “friend” students on Facebook or any other social media site.  However, in college, where most are of legal age, it comes down to preference. Continue reading