Find your (local) beat — and cover it
Not everyone will blog. Not everyone wants to write a lot. But many people have niche interests, often focused around a micro-local neighborhood, a hobby or a concern. You can step into the role of citizen journalist by being a beat reporter of sorts on an area of interest to you. Here are some ways to do that —
- Use Scoop.it to find, collect and publish articles and blogs on a specific subject, e.g. Inner Arbor.
- Use Storify to collect articles, tweets and arrange the order to tell a story, cover an issue, report on an event. HoCo Blogger Lisa B, Mrs. S does this brilliantly. Follow her lead.
- Pick a beat and then use local hashtags to find and share your hobby. Who will take the lead on #HoCoMovies, #HoCoMusic, #HoCoArts? Will you be the one to go even more niche and cover just the HoCo high schools’ plays and musicals? It doesn’t matter which niche you pick, just pick one and be the beat “reporter.” Maybe you live in Long Reach and want to tweet local news and events in your community. (Right, @Kevxb?) Or maybe you live in @StevensForest and are already doing so. (Go, Ian! … On the Twitter account and SF Facebook page, too.)
- Create a RebelMouse or two, or three. Using hashtags and Rebelmouse, you can create a page that automatically updates with each new tweet. The HoCo Times sports writers and editors are doing a grand job with this.
- Find, organize and share information on a subject using Smore. Check out the online flier about the county’s purchase of the Verona Apartments.
- Use hashtags in Facebook and Instagram, too. Get your friends and neighbors used to using hashtags and understanding how to use them locally to help information move more fluidly and accurately in our community. As more people are producing data (Facebook updates, tweets, blog posts, videos and more), the juice/magic/energy/opportunity will be less and less about the information itself and more and more about how it’s organized, shared and found. Tags and hashtags will be key here.
Follow @EastCoastPhotog on Twitter
This local photographer does a fair amount of citizen journalism with his/her photos, tags and tweets; much with a focus on traffic, weather, emergencies, #BuddyTheSquirrel and #HoCoNature. And check out (or subscribe to) David Hobby’s HoCo 360 photography blog.
#RunHoCo … with help from @MissZippy1
Blogger and avid Twitterer, Miss Zippy, has created a Run Howard County page with resources, links to local running organizations, her fave acupuncturist, dietician, running shoes store and more. Interested in running? You’ll find — and can use — #RunHoCo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (probably YouTube, too, in a matter of time). What about you? Have you created a similar site for your niche local interest? Let us know. We’ll share it.
Does your kid’s school, teacher, principal, library, sports team, newspaper or booster team have a blog?
We’d love to have them listed on HoCoBlogs.com. It’s free to be listed. Learn more here and submit the blog here. We’re looking to add an Education category to our site and we need a lot more education-focused blogs to do that.