Talk about doing it right.
The Houston Chronicle gets it.
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.
While 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.