Surfing the Net on Deadline – Staci D. Kramer’s Tips for Reporters, Editors and News Directors is a great checklist and how-to steps for bloggers as well as reporters. Here are some highlights:
* Rule #1: Troubleshoot your software when you aren’t on deadline.
* Build — and maintain — a bookmark file for your beat or specialty.
* Update and organize your bookmarks during downtime.
* Don’t be afraid to browse. You never know where you might find a good story idea.
* Set a time limit when you’re browsing.
* Use newsgroups and mailing lists to monitor discussions on various subjects and to find sources and story ideas.
* Trust but verify.
* Whenever possible, spend time “lurking” in a newsgroup or on a mailing list before posting messages. This will save you from embarrassing mistakes.
* Learn Netiquette and check for guidelines specific to a particular mailing list or newsgroup, sometimes known as FAQs.
* Use search engines early and often.
* Never rely on one search engine.
* If the search engine offers help use it.
* Learn simple query language.
* Use a news tracker to “catch” stories of particular interest to you. Use more than one to broaden the net.
* Be adventurous. Be intuitive.
* Be cautious. Treat information from the Internet the same way you would information from any source.
Excellent advice and tips for bloggers. I especially like the recommendations to lurk and check, as well as learn. The more you can learn about searching, Netiquette, and the various methods of gathering information like feeds, chats, and newsgroups, the more resources you have to pull from.