By Nikki Burdine, RTDNA Contributor
As a reporter, you write more in one day than most people do in an entire month. You write two versions of your package, a web story, a tweet promoting your story, a VO/SOT version and then another shortened piece for a later newscast. You write. A lot. But most of us are writing to feed the beast, am I right? Your words are quick and to the point, nothing flowery or unnecessary. That package better not go over 1:20 and that VO needs to stay under :30. So that probably doesn't leave a lot of room for creativity, does it?
Those feature packages are few and far between, unless you're lucky enough to get a sweet assignment like the one-and-only Boyd Huppert. So when you do get a feel-good story, you might be a little out of practice.
These are just a few of the reasons you, busy reporter, should have a blog.
I often say my blog is more for me than it is for my readers - it helps me stay creative by writing about subjects other than spot news. If I find something that tickles my fancy and would not be an acceptable pitch for the morning meeting, I write about it on my blog. There's no pressure, it's just whatever you want to write about. No deadlines or criteria to meet.
Here's another reason you should have a blog: it's an online resume. Your blog can be a place where you highlight your feature writing and also your work from your 9-to-5. Bonus points for saving the video that aired and embedding it into YouTube. Your resume tape can only be so long, your blog can be where you post those extra stories. The work you're still proud of but didn't make the cut. Its a great follow-up email after an interview, "Just in case you'd like to see more of my work, here's a link." Bosses love a socially-savvy reporter, so if you can work WordPress, that's another resume-booster. Many station websites are actually hosted through WordPress, so you'd be ahead of the game!
I love posting my work on my blog because it's a good diary of what I've done. So many times I can't find my actual story on my station's website, it's been archived or updated and only the newest version is posted. I go to my blog and there it is - a quick reminder.
Your blog can be as in-depth or simple as you like. If you want it simply for work, consider a professional theme and just using your name as the domain. If you want to write more feature work and eventually have it be more than just for you, find something fun and quirky.
Finally, having a blog is FREE and easy. I use WordPress to host my site. It's really user-friendly and you can customize it as much as you like.
So like I said, my blog is more for me than it is for my readers. Because, to be honest, I don't know if I actually have any in the first place.