Blogging

Blogging is one of the five levels of the Digital Ninja School.

CORE REQUIREMENTS: You must master the following core areas to earn a belt in this category:

  1. Metrics. How do you measure the impact of blog posts you’ve written or edited? How can you tell if a headline is effective? Whether timing of a post affects the size and engagement of the audience? Learn how to measure readership of your blog to understand the reach of your work and how to extend it. Training links.
  2. Choosing Blogging Subjects. What’s your blog about? What makes it unique? Who would be interested in reading it? And once you have your topic nailed, how do you keep writing interesting content with regularity? Learn how to find your ‘blogging voice’ and use it to post a regular feed of original content. Training links.
  3. Template and Dashboard Basics. There is much more to managing your blog than simply knowing how to write and publish a new blog post. Learn the basics of your blog’s management dashboard, and how to customize your blog’s look, template and widgets to make a more attractive and immersive experience for your readers. Training links.
  4. Beat Blogging. How can you blog about your position in the newsroom? Take readers deeper into your notebook, or pull back the curtain a bit on what you do. Beat blogging is a big part of ‘open journalism’ and an open newsroom. Learn how to  Training links.
  5. Being ‘of the Blogosphere.’ How do you gain readership for your blog? Just like with social media, ‘if you build it, they will come’ is not a good principle to follow. Writing in a vacuum is not blogging. That’s diary-writing. Find relevant blogger networks, blogs and websites to associate your blog with.  Link to like-minded blogs, comment on other blogs, respond to comments on your own blog, etc. Learn how to be an engaging member of the blogosphere, and you’ll have an audience. Training links.

ELECTIVES: You must master at least five (of your choosing) of the following areas, in addition to core requirements, to earn a belt in this category:

  • Live Blogging. Live blogging is a great way to report live to, and often engage with, your readers from an event happening right now. Learn how to master CoverItLive and other tools to do what you have always done — written journalism — but in a live setting. Training links.
  • WordPress. WordPress is a beautiful platform for website content management. If you need to build a website or blog with a dynamic content stream, WordPress is the platform to use. Learn how to master the ins and outs of it, from setup to publishing and content management.  Training links.
  • Blogger. Blogger is Google’s blogging platform – and what we use for all staff blogs. It’s an easy interface. If you have a staff blog, or want to set one up, learn how to master the basics of Blogger, from setup to management. Training links.
  • Tumblr. With fully customizable templates, bookmarklets, photos, mobile apps, and a social network, Tumblr is the Twitter of the blogging platforms. Master it, and reach a whole new segment of the blogosphere. Training links.
  • SEO and Tagging. Same as with publishing content anywhere else on the Web. If readers can’t find your content through search engine or social media, they might not find it at all. Learn best practices of search engine optimization in headlines, story text, key words and linking, and become aware of harmful practices that could negatively affect your blog’s SEO ranking. Training links.
  • Engaging with Blog Comments. Reader engagement in the comments is just as important on your blog as it is on your newsroom’s website. If not more. Master the best practices for encouraging comments and discussion on your blog posts, and how to respond. Training links.
  • Community Media Lab Recruitment. In the words of Jeff Jarvis, “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” The internet has given everyone with an internet connection, time and some passion the ability to be a publisher. Not everyone uses that privilege to write or say something constructive or relevant, but there are many that do. Countless  bloggers from all over and start up websites passionately cover niche topics and communities that we don’t have the resources or experience to. Learn about the benefits of partnering with such sites and writers so we can provide a more dynamic community experience for our readers.  Training links.
  • Hobby Blogging. Passionate about a particular topic not really related to your newsroom role? Passionate enough to start up your own blog on your own time? Hobby blogging is a huge part of the blogosphere. Learn how to start your own, and potentially pocket a little money while doing it. Training links.
  • Independent Study. Work with your supervisor to identify a different area of training related to this category you want to pursue. Training links.

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