Blogs and Free Speech

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Hi Writers,

I’ve been trying to convince writers—on the WD forum and elsewhere—that blogging can be good for their careers. Read this interesting article from Folio magazine on the new set of expectations publishers have of wannabe journalists.

But the prevailing notion I hear from writers is that blogging is some kind of farm league to get to the big show of the print world. It's a new world and publishers are trying to stay in the game by adding engaging web content to their print repertoire. This is where you the writer come in—you can offer publishers that content. And I’m not talking about keeping a personal, diary-style blog, which has worked for some but can also be a professional landmine if you’re not careful (see the WD article "Blogged and Burned").

Many writers will say to me something along the lines of: “Why should I have a blog? There are millions of blogs.” And that’s precisely the point. There’s so much bad content floating around on the Internet, a good writer who works hard will garner an audience there. Readers on the web are looking for trustworthy sources.

Which brings me to a fascinating article that ran in the New York Times this weekend that discuses the idea of a blogger code of conduct. Apparently folks who have thrown their hats into the blogging arena are finding out what journalists have always known—if you’re going to put yourself out there and people are reading you, you’re going to get feedback. And some of that feedback is going to be anonymous and crazy.

But I do like this idea of imposing some manners onto your blog visitors if you so choose (which is why, if you use a certain four-letter word on the WD forum, it's going to come up like this ****).

We’re writers, masters of the communication arts, shouldn't we be taking the lead in raising the bar in the blogosphere? What do you think about the blogger code of conduct? Does it impose on free speech? Drop me a note: I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time.

Keep Writing,

P.S. Thanks for all of the great quotes. Feel free to add more whenever you like--I'm wild about inspirational quotes.