[Amateurs self-select for the job. Professionals are selected. For most jobs, volunteers beat draftees.](http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2008/09/a-passionate-am.html)
First, I totally agree.
Second, this could be a great way to avoid the problem of “my beat writer can’t blog because they’ll alienate their sources by taking positions on topics on their beat.”
Find the passionate amateur within your newsroom to be your blogger — especially if they don’t cover the topic as part of their beat.
Ask for volunteers. Or better yet, see what your newsroom is already blogging about and ask them to do it for you.
How many cop-shop types love writing about politics? How many political reporters are amateur film critics (or film makers)?
For the record, I think beat reporters should be blogging. It’s probably less of an audience play, as they probably won’t be able to tap enough passionate viewpoints for material (because of bias concerns) to really get an audience jazzed. But it can be:
* A reporting tool — write your stories over the course of a day, getting instant public feedback. Take time at the end of the day to condense, enhance and consolidate the versions that go to print. (For as long as print is around)
* A breaking news tool — the quickest route to publishing on the Internet goes directly from “Blogger A” to “Internet Audience ∞”
You have already accrued a staff of professionals, now find the passionate amateurs amongst them — give them the tools and the time to share their passion with the world.
But if you or they can’t or won’t bring the passion, then you’ll never find success in blogging.