For those of you who want to cut to the chase, here is an article in The Stranger which incorporates journalism, an expert source and Q&A. The result is a new kind of journalism where the audience/membership gets to interact with the source directly (no media middleman) and get the information that they personally want, or they can ask the journalist questions too. The result is a good article and a kind of expert blog on the subject (attached to the experts profile). Go have a look (scroll to the bottom of the article for Q&A).
Blogging vs. Q&A: The Rant
Blogging is a discipline. It takes time and effort and practice. It’s the kind of thing that many people with expertise in a given area would like to do (hence it’s success) but for most it’s just not realistic to build it into their day.
The biggest problem with blogging, for many of us, is that you need to anticipate what kind of information your readers would be interested in. I know, some of you are thinking that that is only true for crass marketers who are trying to get attention for themselves, their products or their services. True, pure-hearted blogging is just expressing what your thoughts and interests are. Mea culpa a bit on that score, but BS. Writers want to be read and so they need to understand their audience/membership.
Q&A may well be a great solution (mea culpa, again) because one thing that experts are good at is answering questions. They even like it! Because they get to help people, share their knowledge and (yes) establish a reputation. Questions take away the guesswork of what people want to know.
But the interesting outcome of answering a lot of questions on your subject of expertise and aggregating them in your profile is that it becomes a sort of Blog where each answer is effectively a post. Unlike blogging, their is no guesswork and much less discipline – because it is a responsive “blog” rather than a “soapbox”.
The idea has a long way to go but it’s nice to see it starting to happen in the world of journalism. The Stranger is a great innovator and they may well have invented a new model: a model that is community-oriented, involves professional journalism, expert contributions, community contributions and is of exceptional quality. A bit of a holy grail, especially since it is so scalable.