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Tech guru leads blogging workshop

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Our grandparents had radio. Our parents had television. In our generation, the blogging revolution is emerging into mainstream America and redefining the media.

Technology expert Sree Sreenivasan, professor and dean of students at the Columbia Journalism School, gave a workshop about the blogging phenomenon to approximately 70 media professionals Sept. 29 at the Los Angeles Times.

During the two-hour workshop, Sreenivasan covered various topics about the best blogs written for and by journalists, and how they could join the revolution as a reader and/or creator.

“If you can do Word, you can do blogging; if you can do e-mail, you can do blogging,” Sreenivasan said.

In its most basic form, blogging is a Web log containing journal-style entries that may also include articles, pictures, links and other features.

Blogging changes the rhythm of journalism because work may get published quicker and unlike radio and television, detected mistakes are not buried because readers note errors via the comments section.

Inexperienced attendees discovered that blogging is an affordable vehicle to file content, a source for new information, and an avenue to interact with the community all from the comfort of being at home.

Veteran bloggers discovered new blogs to explore and learned ways to generate traffic on their sites in order to attract advertisers to buy ads.

“My blog has kind of taken off and I’m just curious to find out from somebody who’s obviously way more ahead of the game in this department than I am and how I can best make use of my skills,” said attendee Samantha Murphy, a singer and songwriter.

Sreenivasan also addressed attendees’ concerns about blogging.

Blogs are listed in reverse chronology so the newest information is always displayed first and not necessarily the most important.

The uncertain life span of blogs and limited quality control from hoax sites also discredit the reliability of blogs.

“Anyone can throw out something on the Internet,” said Irena Choi Stern, Columbia Journalism School director of alumni relations, who works with Sreenivasan. “He’s a journalist so he’ll teach you how you can do this, the right way to do it,” Stern said.

Sreenivasan also taught workshop attendees what not to do.

Bloggers should not plagiarize and not fabricate information because Internet search engines make the ruse easy to detect, Sreenivasan said.

The biggest challenge to blogging is having something to say.

However like its traditional counterparts radio and television have proven, blogging has not replaced other media.

“Blogging is really a combination of each of these things,” Sreenivasan said.

The free workshop was co-sponsored by the South Asian Journalists Association, Asian American Journalists Association, the Los Angeles Times and the Columbia Journalism School Alumni Office.

Sreenivasan is also WABC-TV’s tech guru, co-founder of the South Asian Journalists Association and a columnist for poynter.org.

More of his work and technology tips are available at sreetips.com.

Len Ly can be reached at lly@ulv.edu.

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