Chris Anderson has a short post today that gets to the heart of something I’ve seen in action for years: amateurs will always bring more passion to the table, on average, than pros:
To me that’s the difference between amateur and professional content: the first may not be polished, but it’s driven by the sort of intense interest that cannot be faked. The second may be better written, spelled more correctly and otherwise competently produced, but all too often it has the arms-length perspective of a drive-by.
Where this is important to pro news organizations is the place where the amateur and the pro meet. At The Baltimore Sun, there are bloggers like Elizabeth Large, the food critic, Peter Schmuck, a sports writer, and Frank Roylance, a science reporter, all of whom discovered the intersection of a seasoned, professional journalism career and absolute fanboyism. The result? Highly readable blogs, and readership to die for.
The message? Great blogs don’t get assigned. They’re driven by passionate owners. If news organizations want continued reader engagement, they’d be wise to remember this and encourage reporters to identify topics they care about and run with them.