Diving In With Feeds, Blog Stats, and Links

Is blogging journalism? What is a feed? Why should I care? Who is visiting my site? Is a link a source? Here are a few things to think about before going public with your blog.

Blogging vs. Journalism

Ask yourself, is this information:

  • original or recycled?
  • accurate or assumed?
  • useful or merely entertaining?
  • something that others want or need to know?

Feeds

A feed is constantly updated information of what has been posted or commented on your blog. It’s the text without the design.

When you post on your blog, you are creating a feed. To see it, type in YOUR URL/feed

WordPress offers a nice description of feeds.

For a free, web-based feed reader, try Bloglines or Google Reader.

Blog Stats

You want to know who is reading your blog, where they are coming from, where they are going. Click on your Blog Stats tab and explore.

Links

Links are your life blood. They give you traffic, readers, a reputation, and legitimacy.

James Foust writes that “links are second only to text in their ability to convey information and meaning to the user.” But anyone can create a Web page with a list of links. As a journalist, you are looking for the bestmost useful, and most essential links that provide:

  • background
  • additional information on your story
  • alternate point of view
  • or further exploration.

And there are proper ways to link and not to link. And there are ethical and legal issues involved. (Read Chapters 8 and 10 in Foust.)

Three case studies to help you think about the ethics of linking:

1. Is Wikipedia a reliable source of information? Should you cite it, quote it, or link to it? (Here is a discussion of the issue.)

2. Would you link to the Web site where Sarah Palin’s stolen emails are posted? (Seewhat the WashingtonPost.com decided.)

3. Should you link to someone’s personal MySpace page for a story? Should you quote from it? (See what The New York Times decided in one high profile case and how they explained it to readers.)

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About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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