1st Edition

The Elements of Blogging Expanding the Conversation of Journalism

By Mark Leccese, Jerry Lanson Copyright 2016
    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    Becoming a blogger takes practice, hard work, and, ultimately, a passion for the craft. Whether you plan to blog on politics or parenting, The Elements of Blogging is designed to give you the skills and strategies to get started, to sustain your work, and to seek out a robust audience. This book is loaded with practical advice on important topics such as determining a niche, finding the best stories, and blogging effectively and ethically. It features examples from both amateur and professional bloggers that show the techniques for building an argument, finding a voice, crafting a headline, and establishing a brand.

    Key features:

    • Real-world applicability. This book includes thumbnail profiles of bloggers and their sites, which illuminate key skills you will need to become an effective blogger
    • Interactivity. Each chapter features discussion points and exercises intended to get you to think about, reflect on, and apply the contents of each chapter
    • Creativity. While this book dives into software and plug-ins for bloggers, its main goal is to cover how to write blogs on a myriad of topics: news, opinion pieces, travel, politics, art, and more.

    Visit the companion website: http://www.theelementsofblogging.com/


    • The changing blogging landscap
    • Who blogs and how
    • Blogs can be about almost anythin
    • Why expertise matter
    • Why audience matters

    CHAPTER 1: Anatomy of a Blog Post

    • Finding a blog-worthy idea
    • Gathering information (with links!)
    • Writing a draft
    • Rewriting, tweaking and other improvements
    • Headlines, visuals, summaries
    • Making the text look inviting
    • Links and more links
    • Telling the world about your post
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 2: Two Models: Reporter Blogger vs. Op-ed Blogger

    • What kind of journalist do you want to be?
    • How to blog effectively
    • The basics of writing and reporting a news blog (being a reporter, organizing and writing your reporter blog post, the lede, the body)
    • Blogging your opinions
    • Tips for writing a strong opinion blog post
    • Reflective assignment & exercise
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 3: Getting Started

    • Choosing a blog topic (why a niche matters)
    • Naming your blog
    • Checking out the competition
    • Where to get ideas, find resources to tap regularly (social media, hub blog communities, finding experts)
    • Establishing a focus (carrowing your topic, writing a focus statement, outlining to help organize, looking ahead instead of behind
    • Finding and using links (getting to the original source, giving varied views)
    • Building an audience (the importance of regular posts, varying your pace, keeping a reserve file, pushing out, Rome wasn’t built in a day: Be patient)
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 4: Blogging as rap

    • The pleasure of playing with words
    • Let’s get loose: Stretching exercises
    • Hearing the written word (varying cadence and pace, alliteration, sibilance and all that linguistic rhythm, reading your work out loud)
    • Small scenes can deliver big stories
    • How to find your voice (the right tone for your subject; different blogs, different voices; how the pros establish a voice)
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 5: Striking up a Conversation

    • Giving your readers their say
    • When to engage those who comment – and how
    • Dealing with spammers, bots and other headaches
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 6: Why Headlines Matter

    • Two seconds and they’re gone
    • Clear and direct trumps clever
    • Why keywords count
    • The elements of good headlines (specificity, S-V-O, watch for multiple meanings, look forward, tell it with a twist, bad breaks, on deck [how second decks supply more news])
    • Chapter breaks carry the reader forward
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 7: Beyond Words

    • Words aren’t always best: Choosing the right medium
    • Picturebook: Telling a story with a photo blog (one picture can be an entire story, words and cutlines working together, slideshows)
    • I am a radio station: Podcasts (choosing a recording device, natural sound, sound and the imagination)
    • Some of this, some of that: tumbleblogs (how media can complement one another, each element is its own story, choosing the right media)
    • TV Reality: Video blogs
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 8: Making Universal Connections with Stories of Everyday Life

    • Inventorying your own life
    • Thinking small
    • The power of universal connections
    • Be a character in your own story
    • A little humor can go a long way
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 9: On the Road Again: The Travel Blog

    • Gathering string (connections can take time to sort)
    • Using the senses to take readers with you
    • Write about a place through its people
    • Don’t be breezy, be specific
    • Using dialogue to tell story
    • Simple stories work best
    • Take lots of pictures: People like to see things
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 10: Blogging about Politics and Journalism

    • Read a lot and mix up your reading
    • Find a place to stand
    • Build a single, strong argument
    • How to structure an argument
    • Show your readers where your facts came from
    • Be a voice, not an echo
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 11: Consider This: Advice and Reviews

    • Remember the three S rule: Be succinct, simple and sincere
    • This is your show: Don’t be afraid to offer an opinion
    • Do base that opinion on facts
    • Incorporate other experts and (once again) link like crazy
    • Mix advice and demonstration
    • Build your own club
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 12: Building your blogging brand

    • Picking a name that resonates
    • Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and who knows what’s next
    • Johnny Blogseed: Wherever you go, spread your blog
    • You’re not just a blog, you’re a person
    • From pixels to ink: Getting your posts published in old media
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    CHAPTER 13: Looking ahead

    • Going mobile
    • New tools for bloggers – and followers
    • Growing by collaborating
    • Subscription blogs
    • The supremacy of quality
    • Chapter comments (linked to website)

    APPENDICES: Two bloggers & their work


    Mark Leccese is an associate professor of Journalism at Emerson College. He has worked in print and online journalism for 35 years as a reporter, editor, and blogger. For several years, he was the media criticism blogger for The Boston Globe and WBUR-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate. His work has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Quill, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Commonwealth, America, The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, and Boston Magazine.

    Jerry Lanson is the author/co-author of Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves; Writing and Reporting the News; and News in a New Century. He currently blogs for the Huffington Post and has posted several hundred blogs over the past five or six years on five different blogs. He was the first chair of the Department of Journalism at Emerson College (1999-2005) and has taught full-time on the faculties of NYU, Boston University, and Syracuse University.