As promised I am bringing back the advice from Sam Sessa. He had so much good information that I could not just confine it to one post.
Here are some things he suggests about getting ideas for posts.
“I get out a lot looking for things.”
“Start reading random sights. What I see makes me think of other stuff.”
“Gotta be out there every day.”
Suggestions for sources.
“Have to do your homework, call people, get every side of it.”
Sam says his blog helps him to find sources for his copy stories. The example he gave us was the story of K-Swifts sudden death. He got new information and sources form the people who he commented back and forth with through his blog posts.
“Have a conversation with people.”
The public was able to see the story evolve and unfold before their eyes through his blog. The K-Swift story was one or two stories in the Sun and on his blog it was several stories.
Suggestions for writing.
“Best posts, for me, are funny and personable and gets the point across.”
Sam gave us an example of reviewing a sports bar instead of saying something bad about the bar he could turn it around in another way by describing a sports bar he would open and what he would name it and the food he would serve, turn it into a story. This would never be able to happen in the newspaper.
“Some of my best blog posts have been written in five min.” But other times, “2, 5, 6 hours later and I have nothing and I have to walk away. On the whole it has gotten easier.”
But he never knows what people are going to like.
“50 words get lots of comments; 500 words gets no comments but a lot of hits.” Suggestions for hits. “Worry about what you put in the headline.”
He says for him the local hits are the best. “They help to sell ads.”
His suggestions for life.
“Life intersects with your blog life, but you have to draw the line.”
When he is out to eat for fun he has to remember to have fun and not try to turn the experience into a post. People want to know who you are but you have to keep some of yourself to yourself.
Overall Sam says, “blogs were a breath of fresh air. A break from what we [reporters] were doing.” Sam says blogs helped to awaken some reporters. He also says that some old school reporters did not take to the change and are now no longer working for the Sun.
Thanks for the tips and the insight into the blogging world.