McAdams: It’s time to teach blogging

By David Bulla

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mindy McAdams, a journalism professor at the University of Florida, told a group of journalism educators Friday (Jan. 8, 2010) that they need to teach their students how to write blog posts.

“It’s way too late to not be teaching this,” McAdam said. “Our students are going to be asked to write blog when they go to work.”

The UF professor said there is a certain way to write blog posts. She said that short sentences and paragraphs are the standard. Readers don’t have a lot of time to spend on any single post. Part of keeping it short is sticking to a single topic.

“Write about one thing, and that’s it,” she said. “If you have anything else, save it for another post.”

The Florida educator said that posts don’t need to be too complete.

“You don’t know more than your readers,” she said. “Don’t act like a know-it-all.”

Thus, McAdams said that it is important to include readers in the conversation. Let them have their say, she said. They will add to the conversation.

McAdams showed a blog post by NBC anchor Brian Williams in which he talks about going to his son’s baseball game with his wife. That post was much more informal than anything the late Walter Cronkite might have written.

An attendee asked McAdams why Williams writes such informal pieces online.

“He humanizes himself,” she said. “It makes him closer to his audience.”

The Knight chair in journalism at UF, McAdams was speaking at the mid-winter meeting of the Scholastic Journalism Division of AEJMC. The conference was being held at the Poynter Institute.

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McAdams’ Web site on teaching online journalism:

tojou

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