NORML and Future Tense: Blogging at its Best

Over the past week I have been following a pair of professional bloggers in the hope of learning the skills necessary to be a successful blogger myself. I chose to follow Paul Armentano, deputy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Torie Bosch, editor of the Future Tense section of Slate Magazine.

Armentano’s NORML blog deals exclusively with issues surrounding marijuana law reform. This includes weekly articles on current and upcoming legislation in addition to features on law enforcement’s and medicine’s handling of marijuana. His posts are in-depth, full of statistics and analysis, and include plenty of links to further reading. Armentano is clearly an advocate for marijuana law reform, and this is evident in his writing. However, every piece of opinion that he expresses is reinforced with statistics the reader can view for themselves.

In Future Tense, Bosch covers the future of technology. From military to in-home, she discusses how technology is improving our lives in addition to current legal and ethical issues in the field. Because Bosch covers such a broad range of topics and her posts are typically under 500 words, I find it easy to read her blog every day. She avoids injecting her own opinion into her posts, relying on the audience to do so after she has laid out all of the information.

Armentano and Bosch both do an excellent job of sticking to what they know best. They are sure to frequently update their blogs with the latest news, posting multiple times a day if necessary. The most impressive aspect of their work is the amount of links that both journalists provide for the reader. Bosch often places links to further information at the end of her posts, and Armentano includes not only links to other readings but information on whom to contact if the reader wants to act on what they just read.

My only complaint about the two blogs is that there was no dialogue between the author and the audience. The majority of responses in the comments section were intelligent and warranted further conversation.

Despite this, Armentano and Bosch are excellent examples of how a journalist should use a blog. Their writing style and opinion (or lack thereof) is what drew me to their blogs in the first place, and after following their work for the past week, I am certain I will continue to follow.

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