Friday, November 11, 2005

News blogs: Peeking inside the sausage factory

The Dallas Morning News is attempting to address declining reader numbers through an editorial weblog.

The blog began in 2003 under the direction of Keven Ann Willey, vice president/editorial page editor.

In an interview with the Public Journalism Network, Willey outlines the two main reasons for creating the blog. Firstly, to "give readers a window into our editorial board deliberations and strengthen the board's connection with readers." And secondly, to "demystify what we do to enhance our relationship of trust/credibility with readers".

When questioned about what has changed at the Dallas Morning News since the advent of the blog, Willey says: “We are a much more agile, responsive editorial board. We are more tightly attuned to issues that resonate with our readers.”

Additionally, Willey feels that the weblog has helped readers to understand the work of the newspaper editor, what he/she does and why.

She says readers frequently praise the blog for giving them an insight into how decisions are made at the newspaper. Another regular comment is: 'This is one of the best things The Morning News has ever done.'

Strategies such as news blogs are an important part of responding to a wide variety of issues and providing readers with quick responses. Willey says: "blogs are great for opinion writers because they allow the public 'airing' of thoughts, analysis and perspective in real time."

She makes a lot of it, but for my money it's a bit underdone. There's no comment facility, for one.

The Guardian has had a News Blog for some time. And it's a proper blog with comments, link log, and even a tag cloud for easy topic access.

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