Thursday, November 19, 2009

FOX 9 tells us how to blog but fails

Last night I accidentally came across a news story I had actually intended to watch. It was about blogging and how to make money off of it. After watching it on FOX 9 (KMSP) last night I came away with a bit of information but a bit more bewilderment, too. Was the approximately ten-minute segment actually about blogging and what bloggers do to make cash from their writing or was it about a reporter at the TV station entering the blogosphere in an already crowded topic (mommy blogging) and putting entirely too much in the way of resources in to her effort? I am well aware of having a polished launch regardless of who may or may not be paying attention but she hired a professional photographer to take photos of her and her kids. Sure, she probably expensed it out from the station as part of the story but doesn't that cross some sort of line when it benefits you on a personal level?

The longer I watched it, the more I came to realize that Trish Van Pilsum's story was getting annoying. From the repetitive music clip (the same ten or twenty-second clip of a Postal Service song) used to the oh-so-poignant story of her dilemma of finding the proper domain name on Blogger, it was speeding down the road from mildly informative to blatant self-promotion.

I give Trish's little blogging endeavor a few months at best before she gives up on regular updates. If it's anything like most news organization's staff blogs, it will be boring and end up withering on the vine with scant few watching the death. Sure, some media staffers are extremely good at regular blogging. Those, though, are few and far between and they are damn good at what they do and follow the rules of connecting with readers/viewers and have a personality that stands out from the herd. That is where WCCO shines and KMSP fails. It helps a great deal to have that instant name recognition but, again, a personality seals the deal. Sorry Trish Van Pilsum, you have the personality of an apathetic waitress at a restaurant offering nothing but slow service and cold Campbell's condensed soup.

Your story could have been compelling but instead you opened the door to a thousand or so wannabe mommy bloggers who are all geared up to hit the big time today but will realize in two months that blogging ain't that damn easy when you don't have a TV station willing to fork over ten minutes of air during their primetime news to promote their cute little mommy blog. They'll be even more disappointed and frustrated when they find out how much a quality photographer costs as they try to replicate the touch-feely nature of Van Pilsum's blog. A few will stick it out and evolve, finding their niche. I've been doing this almost five years and the first three sucked but I like it. I work in the media world to a certain extent so I know the battles and I witness them from across the hall each and every day and even I haven't cracked that secret code of "what works" in the world of online writing.

But I do know that MinnPics has a somewhat loyal following for some reason. Maybe because it has a ton of quality photos.


Kevin said...

FYI- Trish's blog isn't a station effort. It's a personal project.
She paid for all the photos and design work out of her own pocket.
She's truly trying to be an entrepreneur.

spleeness said...

That is irritating because it doesn't address the reality: quality content and consistent posting are key. How many people actually make a lot of money at their blog? Almost no one (as Penelope Trunk writes in the previous link).

I'm all for people trying. But just be realistic about it - news stories should address the issues & realities, not gloss over them. And they should feature more than one person to appear credible.

Sornie said...

Thanks for the info Kevin, she never really (from what I remember) addressed whether or not she was paying for the setup or if it was an expensed item for the story. I think that the world would be a better place if more people were enterprising enough to at least try to look out for themselves. And I think that spleeness addresses a very important point - the simple fact that almost nobody makes much real money from blogging. Like anything, if you enjoy it by all means do it.

Anonymous said...

trish is retarded...actually retarded...currently her car is parked in front of my father's house, he cheated on my mom with her in 2003 and our family has been torn apart...i wouldnt mind if she was dead and then i would never have to listen to her pointless investigations and see her huge owl eyes on tv ever again...i hate her so if you are disappointed with her productions, i am a fan of you. excuse me while i key her car. she deserves it, there's too many things i cannot do to this day because of her.

Anonymous said...

oh and kevin, she didnt pay for it out of her own pocket..she paid for it from mine...which is why i now have to pay for my own college tuition because she virtually took all of my family's you are wrong, and her personal projects are never successful in my eyes.