Big Tiny World, Keep On Turnin’?

Hello, Blogspace. It’s been three months since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve thought about it often. I just haven’t for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the biggest is a lack of incentive. Other excuses include winter weariness, social media burnout and pure laziness.

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Blog launch party for NancyLoo.net, 2009

Maintaining a blog is typically not part of the job for journalists. But I started blogging on my personal website NancyLoo.net back in 2009, not long after jumping onto the early swell of the social media tidal wave. A blog is an ideal personal and professional outlet. I enjoy writing and sharing stories – exactly why I love being a journalist. On Friday, a counterpart at another station remarked, “Why bother? You’re not getting paid for it.” Such comments do make me wonder why I would create more work for myself in such a competitive business. Maybe the answer is in that last sentence.

It was a few months after establishing NancyLoo.net that I was approached by Chicago Now, the blogging community launched in 2009 by the Tribune Company which also owns WGN-TV. The title “Big Tiny World” came about because of my nickname “Big Tiny” which, of course, I’ve blogged about. Back then, I was blogging for extra bucks. Not a lot. But enough for lunch money and a lot of sour gummy candy. For over a year, driving web traffic became a heady addiction. I was plotting and planning pictures and posts to maximize web hits.

At that time, I was working at another TV station. But when I switched stations in 2010, joining WGN-TV was a natural transition since I was already with the Tribune Company in a small way. Eventually, my blog moved here to the WGN website and that wiped out my extra lunch and candy money. I’ve continued to blog whenever I’ve felt like it – sharing stories behind the stories – running into gangbangers, seeing dead people or finding a great story through an Instagram hashtag.

In December of 2012, WGN switched to a new web platform and every contributor lost all previous content. Bummer. We also stopped getting daily emails on web analytics. I think I was among the few in the newsroom who was interested. I still am. My primary job remains traditional reporting on television. But the web is a pivotal frontier since social media drives news consumption more than ever.

Last week, I was reminded how this “work on top of work” can enhance my reach as a journalist. If you Google “pronounce Matteson”, my blog post from last year “How To Properly Pronounce Matteson, IL” is the first result. A friend at another station let me know since Matteson was in the news due to a community alert about a potential serial rapist. I would lose that “first result” status if I did away with this blog.

So I guess Big Tiny World will keep on turnin’ with my sporadic posts, sometimes months apart. The Matteson pronunciation debate isn’t going away any time soon.

 

2 comments

  • Kevin McKinney

    Hello Nancy, I enjoy your blogs and appreciate the enthusiasm you bring to your reporting. I responded after your Matteson blog and I will say it again… If you never did another blog, at least you informed Chicagoland (and most importantly the media) how to pronounce it correctly. It would always drive me crazy when people say Matt-son. You should repeat that every year. Keep your blogs going, even if it is "pro bono".

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