Audio interviews - by on Friday, November 21, 2008 17:26 - 2 Comments

Interview with Jon Ortiz about ‘blog backs’

The Sacramento Bee’s Jon Ortiz recently launched a new feature called “blog backs” that has quickly become a hit with users on his State Worker blog.

It’s similar to hoisting comments, but it’s more in depth than that. Both features are ultimately about community building and help foment better and more sensible comments from users.

Blog backs are a combination of hoisting strong comments from users, and of clarifying of points of fact that people didn’t understand in posts from bloggers.

“People really need some amplification on points that we were making in the blog,” Ortiz said about starting the feature. “We also have some people who put some time and effort into their comments and we want to recognize those.”

This new feature doesn’t take long to create. His first week it took him about two hours, but he has streamlined the process since then. In his third week he was able to put this feature together in 20 minutes.

“Instead of waiting until the end of the week to review the comments and the blog entries, as the week went along I took would take note of comments that I thought were particularly blog back worthy,” he said. “I got everything done ahead of time as the week went along. It’s pretty much then just a matter of pasting that into Moveable Type.”

A post that takes Ortiz 20 minutes to create significantly increased traffic to his blog. Not only do the blog back posts themselves get a lot of page views, but the old posts that are linked to in the blog back see on average of about a 10 percent boost in traffic.

“The hit counts to the page are very high and I think it gives people a way to quickly look back and see what they’ve missed,” he said about his new feature.

Some other topics discussed:

  • Have other newsroom bloggers adopted this feature?
  • Are there certain kinds of blogs this feature makes more sense for? Do some blogs not work with this?
  • Why should other bloggers look into doing blog backs?

Click here to stream the interview. Or download the MP3.

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