Every student journalist should spend at least six months totally immersed
in blogging. Start a blog and try to draw an audience. Do the things that
bloggers need to do, read other blogs, create a blog roll, link to other blogs,
post frequently on topics relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach (and
read those blogs in that category), comment on other blogs. Learn to be a
participant. That’s my advice to pro journalists, too: if you want to learn
this culture, become a participant in it. It will totally change the way you
think about media and online publishing.
I couldn’t agree more – and I would add that public relations and other professional
communicators do the same, especially students. While it’s certainly possible to do media relations
without having worked as a journalist, I believe it’s far more difficult to
engage with the blogosphere and “learn the culture,” as Owens says, without
experiencing it firsthand.