Bloggers: Print Journalists Have a Lot to Teach You

As blogging becomes one of the predominant methods of delivering and consuming content, it’s print journalists who have a thing or two to learn from bloggers. But don’t be so naive to assume that you have it all together. Good print journalists can teach you valuable lessons as well.

4 Valuable Lessons to Learn

It’s easy to look down on outdated modes and technologies, but the truth is that there’s a lot to learn from the various methods, systems, and strategies that came before.

Though print journalism is in rapid decline, it doesn’t mean that the journalists in the industry are in decline. Many are extremely talented and have a wealth of knowledge to impart on the new generation of content writers and reporters – also known as bloggers.

Instead of assuming you have it all together, adopt a posture of curiosity and willingness to learn. In doing so, you may glean some important insights from the following:

  • Checks and Balances are a Must

The truth of the matter is that bloggers, by definition, have very little oversight to keep them honest or on track. In most cases, bloggers have nobody to report to and can publish whatever they’d like. To some degree, this is what makes blogging so appealing. However, it also creates some big challenges in terms of credibility.

One of the biggest lessons bloggers can learn from journalists is the importance of having checks and balances in place. In print journalism, journalists report to editors and editors report to a board of directors. This allows for a system of checks and balances that ensures content is factual, engaging, and free of obvious errors.

While you don’t necessarily need some formal business structure for your blog, it is helpful to have someone who can review your work and provide a little insight.

  • Solid Reporting Skills Matter

The majority of bloggers don’t do interviews or investigative reporting. They simply share their own experiences and thoughts, or piggyback off of other news reports and current events. But if you really want to carve out a niche as a successful blogger, it’s helpful to have some reporting skills in your repertoire.

“Learn the value of journalistic legwork. Talk to multiple sources, and check out the credibility of those sources,” suggest Steve Outing, a thought leader in the online media industry. “Double-source information that seems suspect. Seek out the aid of public- and media-relations professionals for corporations and public institutions; today, many of them are accustomed and willing to work with bloggers as well as traditional journalists.”

  • Visual Design is Important

Bloggers can learn a thing or two from print journalists about the importance of balancing visual design and content for a “look” that readers gravitate to.

“When it comes to print media, written context is only part of the equation,” Printing Center USA explains. “The best magazines and journals seamlessly integrate visual content for a cohesive experience that both delights and informs readers.”

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In particular, clean visuals with plenty of white space and contrast are effective in today’s distracting world of online media.

  • Trust Signals are Key

If you were to send in a pitch to a print magazine, the editor would want to know why you’re qualified to be published. They’d likely ask for your credentials, which help them determine:

  • Why you should be the one writing the article.
  • How many years of experience you have in the industry.
  • What level of education, experience, and connections you have.
  • Your reputation and credibility in the industry.

While you don’t have an editor or boss vetting your credential, your readers are subconsciously looking for signs of your trustworthiness. The more you can incorporate social proof and trust signals into your content, the greater your chances are of standing out and finding success.

Never Stop Learning

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete, auto mechanic, or blogger, learning is a lifelong pursuit that you should remain committed to year after year. Whether it’s studying what print journalists do, looking at how other bloggers handle their responsibilities, or researching the latest industry changes and predictions, answers are found in the pursuit of learning.

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