Review: Elements of Blogging (Expanding the Conversation of Journalism)

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-05-43-amEach with a background in blogging and teaching journalism, authors Mark Leccese and Jerry Lanson give a big picture look at blogging in the context of traditional writing and journalism. This look could be helpful to someone starting out in blogging or for a teacher looking for a good textbook for students. The approach is in general scholarly and thoughtful.

Examples appear throughout The Elements of Blogging to show how authors grew their following, and a little appears about how to monetize and/or grow revenue for a blog. The focus is on how to find a voice, write an effective headline, build an argument, and find a niche and audience. Exercises and discussion questions also appear in each chapter.

Doing a good job of explaining that blogs primarily either report information or give opinions, the authors cover topics such as news, op-ed pieces, politics, art, food, and travel. As an example of how the authors approach their topic, they write that “many serious bloggers do independent reporting, consult and link to primary sources, verify facts, and maintain high ethical standard just as professional journalists do” (page 21). The Huffington Post is an example of such serious blogging.

Other examples that appear throughout give an in-depth look at success. Talia Ralph has a success story as she notes “blogs work best when readers are responding not just to the topic, but to the person writing” (page 71) and explains about her postings as they reflect her interest in food studies and how she “lives in the world of food blogging” (page 72).

The site can give you an idea of the interests and style of the authors and is worth a visit. It covers topics such as academia, arts, headlines, interviewing, literature, media, news, politics, reviewing, and travel. For example, one posting is about why those in academia should blog. You get a wider audience. It’s quick. It provides an informal format for discussion.

This leads me to ask if and how we in our communities would benefit from this media and communication form.

The Elements of Blogging:  Expanding the Conversation of Journalism. Mark Leccese and Jerry Lanson.  2015.  Focal Press.  ISBN-13: 978-1138021549. 284 pages.

Reviewed by Jeanette Evans

Note to readers:  A version of this review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication.