LJWorld.com weblogs Mackenzie Steffen

Lede-ing the Way


Writing a good blog is not easy. To be relative, informative, engaging and entertaining week after week takes a lot of thought and effort. Add this task to an already busy schedule of writing and reporting and you have yourself a hectic workday.

Blogging journalists add a great value to a publication and to the community at large. The most important aspect of a blog is the conversation it creates. Communicating with readers, getting feedback, responding to comments, is invaluable to a dedicated journalist.

Often times, blog posts include extra tidbits, additional viewpoints that didn’t quite make the cut for the traditional news article. My favorite example of this is the Lede,

“a news blog that remixes the day's top stories, adding information gleaned from Web sites around the world or gathered through original reporting by writers, editors and readers of The New York Times, to provide fresh perspectives on events and to draw readers in to the world-wide conversation about the news taking place online. Readers are encouraged to take part in the blogging by using the comments threads to suggest links to relevant material elsewhere on the Web or by submitting eyewitness accounts, photographs or video of news events.”

I would never expect anything less than the best from The New York Times, would you?

I enjoy this blog because often times the posts pose new questions and offer a new angle to major stories. I had read a few different articles about the Belgian man who had spent years in a state that had been misdiagnosed as a coma. I wondered if anyone would link this to Terry Schiavo. The Lede did, and dispelled the possibility that she could have had the same condition. For the first time, I read of facilitated communication, an interesting and highly debated view of communication techniques used by the disabled and their care givers.

People question whether a journalist, whose job it is to remain objective, should contribute their own opinions in their blogs. I think it fully depends on the subject matter.

Journalists who expose a bit of their humanness, their personal lives, can gain a greater following and build more trust with readers. When a journalist is open about how they fit into the community a relationship can develop. Personally, I like knowing that a local reporter lives, plays and is involved in the community just like I am. I don’t need or want to know their political or religious beliefs. Hobbies, passions, and community involvement are fair ground for journalists to share. It makes them real.


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