What I learned from Jon Stewart about blogging & liveblogging

SF Chronicle has a great piece from Jon Stewart on the DNC ’08. There’s are several money quotes:

“We’ve fallen into this false sense of urgency that they create,”
Stewart said. “That idea that everything is breaking news and that if
you’re not watching us, you’re going to miss this thing.

“But nothing they’re saying is of any import because nobody filters
it. (Print reporters) are able to step back for a moment and think.
They’re not. They’re just pointing a camera and saying, ‘What do you
think that is? I don’t know. Let’s go to ‘The Situation Room.


He’s frustrated that the cable networks don’t have the attention span
to explore stories – particularly about the run-up to the Iraq war –
that aren’t easily digestible for TV.
Stewart said he loves newspapers,
and reading them makes him feel like they’re writing about a different
world from the one he sees on television.

I think liveblogging is similar to Network news. You have no time to process, not time to think and really understand what’s going on. I did that during the Bangalore blast attacks and while it served its purpose, it was mostly a real-time perspective, which somehow in the grand scheme of things seemed small.

So what have I learned from Jon Stewart:

1. It’s about earning your authority back. If you want to be taken seriously in any field, blogging is a good way to gain credibility by sharing your thoughts, analysis and perspectives. But if you dont spend serious time thinking about it and primarily just repeating what you heard, its just yet another source NOT an authoritative source. You have to be a thought leader not just another repeater. I think TechCrunch is good, as a news breaker, but they dont have depth and authority as some of the reviews I have seen featured on Hacker news.

2. Constantly aim to get better even if you are the best at what you do. After each show, Stewart gathers his cast and crew together to discuss
that night’s successes and directly points out what could have gone
better.

3. Focus in a blog beats exclusive stories most times. Jon’s very focused on what he wants the show to be.
I have watched my blog traffic and on days I dont post I get a ton of traffic (wierd isnt it?). I figure its because people take some time to read, form their opinion and then either link to me (which is the #1 source of my traffic BTW) or search and get to my website (#2 source of traffic). I used to focus on exclusive stories which no one else talks about, but then realized it was more about consistency and focus than just being exclusive.

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