Most writers consider it fact that, in order to write well, you must read a lot.
I encourage student journalists to read everything they can get their hands on. I figure the good writing they read will give them something to mirror. The bad writing serves as a warning and a great way to practice their editing skills.
Journalists are mass information consumers. The nature of the job means we know a little bit about a lot of things. The single thing we’re expected to know a lot about is journalism. Luckily, there are plenty of great journalism blogs out there to help us stay informed about what’s happening in the industry outside of our newsrooms.
Here are 10 blogs (besides this one) that journalists must read. They are in no particular order, so don’t go thinking I picked favorites. I love every blog on the list or it wouldn’t be here.
I remember when Jim Romenesko was a writer for The Poynter Institute. For some of you, that’s like listening to a story about your parents walking up hill to school in the snow. However, Romenesko is a former member of the Poynter faculty (1999-2011). The parting was shocking and, honestly, Poynter lost out on the deal. You can read Romenesko’s take on the situation. Romenesko still is the official on happenings inside the industry’s newsrooms. His connections within the industry are second to none. His blog is a must read.
2. Grammar Girl
Nothing makes journo nerds happier than talking about grammar. Grammar Girl has devoted her podcasts, blog and, now, books to doing just that. I love the way Grammar Girl explains usage rules in a way that is understood easily. I also really enjoy listening to the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast series she is a part of. That being written, I cannot listen to Grammar Girl’s podcast. I prefer to see her rules in writing, and it’s not safe for me to drive and take notes simultaneously. For a fun addition to your podcast listening, try the Quick and Dirty Tips Modern Manners Guy or the Get it Done Guy. They’re hilarious!
As you probably would expect, the Society of Professional Journalists has an entire network of blogs. SPJ Net Worked is my favorite. The blog is written by members of the society’s digital media committee. It’s purpose is to offer informative and instructional training for using digital media in reporting.
4. 10,000 Words
I debated this one a bit since it’s a spinoff of Media Bistro, which appears later on the list. I decided to list it because I rarely pass over 10,000 Words on my RSS Feed. It’s one of my favorite blogs because it’s full of so much great information about media and technology. You won’t regret spending time on the well-written, short tips.
College Media Matters is the source on collegiate journalism happenings. The blog is written by Dan Reimold, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa and adviser to The Minaret student newspaper. It is sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press. In the name of full disclosure, I know Dan and we are active in the same college media group. But I was reading his blog long before we met and, while I think he’s fabulous, I would have included it on the list even if he was a big, fat jerk. Seriously, it’s the source.
Again, these site are in no particular order. If they were, Poynter would be at the top of the list. Poynter has trained journalists for years, providing us with news and education from across our industry. In fact, many of the other sites on this list modeled themselves after Poynter. Perhaps we might call it the grandfather of journalism education online.
If Poynter is the grandfather, Mashable is the hipster grandson. I debated whether to put Mashable on this list because I don’t know if I really consider it a blog anymore. While it may have started as such, Mashable has become the commonly known leader of tech industry news. You should read Mashable the same way you view CNN or read The New York Times, which damn well had better be daily.
8. Media Bistro
Media Bistro is the blog for news on the media industry. The site, which has a mission of helping media professionals succeed and grow in their careers, also offers amazing job postings.
Journalism.org is the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s website. The Pew Center does the most broad sweeping media research available free to the general public. If you need to know what percentage of the population is using mobile every day or how much online advertising revenue is increasing, this is the site to visit. The Pew Center releases a short summary of every study they perform, which makes the site worth checking regularly. They also have produced the annual State of the Media report each year since 2004. It’s fascinating data about major trends in the industry and changes in how people consume information.
Mindy McAdams took a break from her blog for a while. It was a great loss to me. I’m glad she’s back. Mindy’s tip sheets on teaching and implementing online journalism are practical and helpful. Mindy teaches online journalism at the University of Florida.
I’m sure there are a ton of other blogs offering great information about journalism. These are the 10 blogs I think journalists must read. What sites would you add to the list?