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Why You Should Read Your Local Paper to Become a Better Blogger

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As Pulse’s content writer, I often hold blogging training sessions for our clients.

During these presentations, I often find myself using a local newspaper to explain concepts and ideas. I’ll use the “lede” of stories in the lifestyle section of our local papers to show clients how they should approach storytelling. Reading a well-written lede, which is the opening of a news article, is a great way to learn more about what you should do to capture readers.

“But an article in a newspaper is different than a blog,” you might argue. They are different, but the idea here is that you can learn to become a better blogger by taking your cues from journalists who write every day.
So why should you read newspapers instead of blogs when you’re looking for a writing lesson? Here are three great reasons:

  1. A journalist’s job is to capture readers immediately. They write introductions that draw readers into a story. You should use the same practice in your blog.
  2. Oftentimes, journalists do it better than bloggers. By “it,” I mean crafting a story that’s intriguing and worth reading – they received an education to write and do it every day. They’re professionals. You turn to professionals when you need your car fixed or your hair cut. You should do the same when you’re learning how to become a better writer.
  3. They work with editors. Bloggers don’t work with a great editor. Editors help journalists polish their writing until it sparkles. A newspaper article then becomes a lesson not just from the writer, but also from editors.

You learn to become a better writer by reading and learning from others. As Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

So learn from those who have something to teach and become a better blogger in the process. Pick up your local paper and give it a read – it’ll be worth it.

I’ll leave you with another quote from Bangor’s own, King. He said that “good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”

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