Barry Ritholtz gives The Wall Street Journal some valuable advice on its venture into the world of blogs. They could have paid a consultant vast fees for far less than this. Here’s a particularly interesting passage, but the whole post is worth a look if you’re interested in the intersection between mainstream media and blogs:
Editors need to recognize that blogging sucks juice away from writing. (Trust me on this one). Anyone working on a book will tell you that either blogging — or their deadline — goes on hiatus. And if you dangle this very addictive junk in front of your reporters, you may be pulling them away from meaningful investigative assignments. Understand what you are asking of your reporters if you want them to participate in this. (I’d love to see an insider editor blog describing his work day).
I’d imagine that out of this list, a few blogs would really gain traction. Focus on those, and use them to promote the weaker sisters. The blogosphere is full of examples of blogs that were unknown for along while and then suddenly blossomed. (Its the equivalent of Arrested Development cancelled by Fox). Again, it really depends upon what the corporate goal of Dow Jones is with these projects.
In addition to that list above, I’d like to see a senior editor and someone from the business side from Dow Jones Inc. start blogging. An inside publishing kind of thing, looking at the numbers, circulation, advertising, business dealings. Dave Kansas, or someone from the Publishing side. That would be way cool, especially if someone had the charisma and mad skillz to pull it off.
There is a caveat to all this good advice: Don’t do this half-assed. Have the cajones to step up. Be willing to cannibalize yourselves to prevent someone else from doing it anyway. Work outside your comfort zone. Allow your writers to develop a unique voice, some snark. Give them latitude to have a viewpoint. Embrace a new business model that may hurt your present operations, but will ultimately save it 10 years down the road.