Middle East & North Africa regional news editor, SciDev.Net
“What a waste of time to have a blog and write unpaid work on it,” is a thought that might cross a lot of science journalists’ minds when they consider whether or not to start a blog – I was one of them.
But at a session this afternoon, the stars of science blogging raised the point that having a blog can help develop the quality of journalists’ writing.
And, they assured the audience, some journalists actually earn a living by blogging. “It is really generative,” one of the panelists said. For example, Jennifer Ouellette, a panelist and author of the Cocktail Party Physics blog, compiled her blog posts into a book.
“Having a blog is equal to going to a journalism school.” This is how Moheb Costandi, moderator of the session and author of the Neurophilosophy blog, described the benefits of having a blog. Ouellette said she thinks of her blog as her “writing lab”. And all of the panelists agreed that having a blog is a wonderful way for journalists to develop their writing style.
Their advice for journalists who want to start their own blog?
Blog about something that you know about and are passionate about; make the topic of your blog narrow enough so that people don’t get bored; and interact with readers who leave comments, as they build the blogging community.