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.
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.