Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blogging gems from NYTimes' Brian Stelter

Last week, I visited The New York Times. Since the announcement that NYU and NYTimes.com will be partnering on the East Village Local project, my Reporting New York class has been talking a lot about plans for the collaboration and working on generating some content. So we figured it was time to take a trip to the Times for somewhat of a meet-and-greet.

While we were there, we had a handful of Times employees come speak with us. Among those people was Brian Stelter, who covers television and digital media for The New York Times. Previously, Stelter edited the popular blog TVNewser. Stelter discussed reporting and blogging, and a few things he said really stuck out.

But really what I took away from Stelter was one quotation he mentioned that I found particularly insightful: "Our jobs (as reporters) are to put stuff on the Internet that isn't already there." He stressed the importance of original reporting.

I have to agree with him. While I do find some value in aggregating and analyzing preexisting content, I think it's much more valuable to provide something that is new and fresh.

For instance, I recently learned about Guy Kawasaki from the many speakers who've visited my Entrepreneurial Journalism class. I started following him on Twitter and found the links he posted to be really interesting — usually random, quirky topics. Most times, the links lead me to his blog, and what I'll find is a short summary with a link to the original post on some other Web site. More often than not, that link leads me to another Web site that also summarized the post, which also includes a link. Eventually, I find my way to the original site, but at that point, I've lost interest. 

What I really enjoy is clicking on a link that takes me directly to where I want to go — a colorful post full of new information or a different perspective, preferably with some kind of visual, perhaps a photo or graphic. Is that too much to ask?

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