Much of what I’ve read since I started blogging (and thereby reading more online journalism blogs) says that journalists and students of journalism should blog. But according to a survey conducted by my editing teacher, out of 60 or so students (three sections) only about 5 blog.
My cash costs for this blog are almost nil, but the time cost is heavy. I try to post at least once a day, and that means coming up with a post idea (usually through my RSS feeds or classes), how to approach it, searching for references and relevant information, writing the post, coming up with a title (headlines are my weakness), and editing. I’m also constantly looking for ways to improve the site as a whole, via design or information.
A “Tumblelog” is The Flash compared to traditional blogging. Each post will have a different format based on what information you’re posting: a longer blog post, a photograph or graphic, a quotation, a link, a conversation, or a video. You don’t have to write commentary, there are no comments to check. Just post and go.
Even better, the Tumblr bookmarklet automatically detects what kind of site you’re on and will format the post accordingly. I’m assuming this auto-detect isn’t perfect, so you can change the type easily as well.
You can also set Tumblr up to directly publish posts from an RSS feed or your cellphone.
Here’s the drawback: no comments = no community. If you follow the theory that journalism needs to get ueber-local, and journalists need to learn how to participate in their communities, maybe Tumblr isn’t the solution for the time-bound. Maybe you should just take a few extra seconds to post to a blog that does allow comments. Maybe the time investment is worth the possibility of mind-opening and engaging conversation; building your own community.
Perhaps the challenge lies in the format. How long is a story, anyway?
P.S. This post took me about two hours. I had help on the details on Tumblr from Lifehacker.