Houston Chronicle is local blogger heaven

Talk about doing it right.

The Houston Chronicle gets it.

Chron.com\'s citizen-generated Faith blogsThey have local bloggers EVERYWHERE on their site, even on their specialty sites: MomHouston.com and HoustonBelief.com (left).

Most importantly, the citizen bloggers are not buried on a “blogs” page. They are incorporated on the theme-appropriate Web page: citizen sports bloggers are on the Sports home page; local political bloggers are on the Politics home page; ditto, Health, Tech, Gardening, Entertainment, even Real Estate!

Not only that, chron.com promotes the most recent local blogger posts prominently on the chron.com home page, right below the main news stories.

And just to be sure, they also offer the standard blogger page, usually a purgatory where bloggers languish unseen and un-promoted. But in Houston’s case, given all the attention the bloggers get on the home page and the section pages, this blogger page becomes a helpful index.

The only place chron.com falls down is with video bloggers. They have a “share your video” link right on the home page, but no repository for those UGVs that I could find.

It would be a rich vein to mine: A quick search on YouTube turned up more than 2,500 video posts about Houston in the last 30 days alone.

Organizer of First Black Book Festival in HoustonWhile many of the clips about concerts and TV news reports probably have copyright issues, there are hundreds of fascinating videos about all sorts of disparate subjects, including: the handcuffing and arrest of a girl at her prom for wearing a short dress, raspberry ants invading a neighborhood, a cool profile of a local high school, a stunning story about the Women’s Center for homeless women, a great gospel choir concert, the first national black book festival, and much more.

How much richer would the chron.com experience be with all these citizen videos?

But that’s a small criticism of a site that is light years ahead of the rest of the newspaper industry in terms of making local bloggers part of the leading information and community hub in Houston.

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6 responses to “Houston Chronicle is local blogger heaven

  1. Well John, you can’t launch a blog and never update it!

  2. You’re right, Peter! I got wrapped up in other stuff and let it slide. But I’ve corrected the problem with a posting today. Let me know if you like it. Thanks!

  3. I love Chron.com, one of the best newspaper web sites in the country and some brilliant folks running it. I guess I disagree about the Chron and blogs though.

    Chron does a good job of promoting people who blog on its site using its pluck tools.

    But they are missing a much wider and more vibrant Houston blogosphere that isn’t playing in their pond. I think that’s a mistake.

    Regardless, BlogNetNews.com has tried linking to pluck blogs inside newspapers, but the RSS feeds they produce are just nightmares that constantly break. http://tinyurl.com/5w86zf

    I wonder how many readers those bloggers lose through RSS subscriptions that go bad.

  4. David,

    You’re absolutely right about the Chron’s approach: promoting only those blogs that have their home on chron.commons. It goes back to the old gatekeeper mentality where the newspaper has to control or own everything they publish or promote.

    Chron.com would be much richer and would attract a broader, more eclectic audience if they aggregated and pointed off. They’d lose some of the community (the comments) but they’d gain credibility and the reputation as being THE source for all things “Houston.”

    There is a middle ground, too, though. They could take in an RSS feed of the most recent post of a blogger, allow comments, and point back for the rest of the blogger’s work. That would require more work (getting agreements with each blogger for a full-text feed), but it would keep people on the newspaper’s site for discussions.

    I love your BlogNetNews, by the way!

    John

  5. Pingback: The Worst “Blind Pews” of U.S. Newspapers, PT II « John Wilpers: The power of partnering

  6. Houston is maintaining economic growth through innovation in all segments of the society. Houston Chronicle is fast to adopt new technologies to maintain their status as the representative voice of Houstonians.

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