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2008 BlogWorld Citizen Journalism Workshop Announced


I won’t muck this up with an attempt to be funny. We are very proud to offer this program at BlogWorld this year. Professor Perlmutter has put a lot of effort into developing this program and recruiting the instructors.


There are hundreds of millions of webloggers worldwide, and while many are blogging for casual reasons or for just a short time, others, especially news & information bloggers, are serious about their blogs’ success in the greater marketplace of ideas. Unfortunately, the Wild West days of blogging are dead: The independent blogger, not already affiliated with a large media organization, finds it hard to penetrate a market saturated with a select few major bloggers and hundreds of thousands of other competitors. How can someone “break in” as a news or politics or current events blogger and build a readership, get attention from major bloggers and mass media, become a profitable small business, or, more important perhaps, affect or influence the press agenda, politics and government affairs, and even public opinion?

One answer for many bloggers is the same that all vocations, from plumbers to lawyers, have turned to in America’s past: Professionalization. Learning the codes, rules, protocols, precepts, practices, styles, content preferences, and generally all the insider tips and techniques of professional news & information seekers, gatherers, and disseminators—that is, journalists. Again, as in other industries, such professional status comes from study and practice and is often accompanied by some imprint of quality: a college degree or a certification. Professionalizing does not denote “selling out,” any more than new but ambitious building contractor is selling out by taking a training program that teaches her the codes and techniques of longtime successful master builders.

BLOGWORLD & NEW MEDIA EXPO 2008 offers a professional training certificate workshop for bloggers seeking such an insider edge. First, the blogger will learn the techniques of journalism, from the practice of investigative reporting to the styles of opinion writing and fact-sourcing that are most likely to get one quoted or cited in mainstream media. Second, bloggers will receive a plaque and a Web icon that will allow them to claim the status of “blogger journalist,” providing them with a distinct brand differentiation from the millions of other amateur, independent news & information bloggers.

The instructors for the sessions are accomplished news & information practitioners and educators who have established skills in practical and applied areas of professional journalism training.

The workshop focuses on major areas that affect “blogger journalism.”

Journalism Content & Style: How to Write & Sound Like a Pro [Steve
Berry, Iowa]

In this session, training will be based on the notion that substance and clarity trump flash and flair in the competition for readers. To that end, bloggers will learn to give their writing the power, lively freshness, style and efficiency required in professional journalistic writing. Training will focus on (a) basic reporting and writing for different media (from print to broadcast to websites), (b) scripting in Associated Press style, and (c) the rhythms, structure, and succinctness of superior prose for news, information, analysis and commentary.

Finding What’s Out There: Searching, Sifting, and Selecting the Best
Information Online [Jay Perkins, LSU]

Finding information isn’t a problem anymore, but sifting through the information overload is. Good professional investigative journalists are well schooled and practiced in where to go for what information quickly far above and beyond the limitations of Wikipedia or a Google search. This session will look at how you can find the best, most credible sources of information quickly and efficiently within various databases in the professional, private sector as well as in government. We also deal with how to obtain information from local and national federal agencies, such as through the Freedom of Information Act. Our goal is to save time and money for bloggers seeking out the right information to support their opinions and investigations. Finally, the session addresses issues of fact-checking and source-credibility: how to confirm that what you find is accurate.

Blog Law 101: Press Legal Issues & Questions that Affect Bloggers
[Nina Yablok]

This session will deal with the myriad legal and ethical issues and rights and responsibilities of journalism. These include (a) the uses of copyright and trademarks, especially of Web-posted material, (b) the protection of sources and the use of anonymous or pseudonymous sources, and (c) the challenges of plagiarism, especially in an online environment. The session will also review major laws and court cases—such as those on libel and slander—affecting the protection of the rights of the press in general and online media and independent bloggers in particular. Also highlighted will be the ethical dilemmas of modern journalism, ranging from when a story is “ready for print” to the use of images of people suffering.

Getting Mainstream Media Attention: How to Reach Out to Journalists [David Perlmutter, Kansas]

In an online world where hundreds of millions of people are expressing themselves through blogs, podcasts, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and many other social media/interactive venues and technologies, how does an independent blogger stand out and be heard? Why is one blogger invited to be on “The O’Reilly Factor” or a CNN election roundup? Why does the New York Times quote one blogger over another? This session focuses on the process of branding your blog or new media platform and getting yourself and it cited, sourced, quoted, interviewed, or even placed onto other, more major corporate media. We will review the basic selection techniques of how journalists deem someone an “approved source” or expert; we discuss how bloggers can enter the Rolodex of reliable sources for major media. Second, we show ways to have blog content picked up by major media, from blasting out a press release to writing and submitting an op-ed to contacting and working with mainstream reporters on stories. Finally, we will outline the ethical issues that affect how your blog is perceived by mainstream media.


David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.


School of Journalism & Mass Communications

University of Kansas

Dole Building–1000 Sunnyside Ave., Room 2064

Lawrence, KS 66045-7555

Phone: 785.864.7635

Fax: 785.864.0614



STEPHEN J. BERRY, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter, is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Iowa, where he specializes in investigative reporting. He recently completed a stint as coordinator of the basic journalistic reporting program and taught a section in it for four years.

His book, Watchdog Journalism: The Art of Investigative Reporting [Oxford University Press], is scheduled for release July 2008.

Before entering academia in 2003, Berry was a journalist for 33 years, having worked last at the Los Angeles Times. While at The Orlando Sentinel, he and a colleague won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He has won numerous other honors for investigative and daily reporting, including the Associated Press Newspaper Executive Council Award for public service; the Benjamin Fine award for education reporting; the Los Angeles Times’ Top of the Times Award, one of its Pulitzer nominations and its Editor and Publisher Prize; Society of Professional Journalists Award [Atlanta Chapter]; and others. His projects have examined race relations, the criminal justice system, police abuse of power, school district merger, medical malpractice, stock-car racing safety, guns, government and illegal drugs. More recently he has published “Reclaiming Objectivity” and “CBS News Lets the Pentagon Taint its News Process” in Nieman Reports.

He holds an M.A. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

JAY PERKINS is an associate professor at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University. He specializes in teaching students how to find and use governmental documents and how to cross-check Internet sources. He has taught investigative, governmental and computer-assisted reporting classes at LSU for the past 25 years. He also teaches classes in the summer in the United Kingdom, has conducted seminars for reporters in Zambia twice, and frequently lectures on using Internet databases and sources to foreign journalists who are visiting the States on sponsored tours. Prior to coming to LSU, he was a political reporter in Washington, D.C., for the Associated Press.

DAVID D. PERLMUTTER is a professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Kansas. He received his BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has served as a Board member of the American Association of Political Consultants and now sits on the National Law Enforcement Museum Advisory Committee for its Media Exhibit. A documentary photographer, he is the author or editor of seven books on political communication and persuasion: Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Framing Icons of Outrage in International Crises (Praeger, 1998); Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to the Cyberage (St. Martin’s, 1999); (ed.) The Manship School Guide to Political Communication (LSU Press, 1999); Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement (Sage, 2000); Picturing China in the American Press: The Visual Portrayal of Sino-American Relations in Time Magazine, 1949-1973 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); (ed., with John Hamilton) From Pigeons to News Portals: Foreign Reporting and the Challenge of New Technology (LSU Press, 2007), and Blogwars: The New Political Battleground (Oxford, 2008). He has also written several dozen research articles for academic journals as well as over 150 essays for U.S. and international newspapers and magazines. He writes a regular column, “P&T Confidential,” for the
Chronicle of Higher Education. He has been interviewed by most major news networks and newspapers, from the New York Times to CNN and ABC and, most recently, The Daily Show. He is editor of the blog of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas (http://www.doleinstituteblog.org/) and his own blog about online politics, http://policybyblog.squarespace.com/.

Nina Yablok has been practicing business law for 32 years. She advised her first online client, the owner of one of Compuserve in 1994. She is a former member of the California State Bar Association‚ Business Law Section and currently serves as Legal Council for Pajamas Media.


  • Bina

    Want to learn how to do Blogs on Health and Nutrition. To share what I know and spread the word. I am clueless on how it is done. Help!!

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