Bay Area Blogs

Hey, You Wanna Hear a Good Story?

Eve Batey and Justin Beck were very nice to ask me to talk to them about why I decided to leave social media as a career and go back to waiting tables and writing. The conversation was recorded for their media podcast Punching Down. 

Eve and Justin came all the way to me in the Mission, and Justin even brought beer. And not cheap Miller, neither. 

It only took one Day Beer to get my big mouth moving. 

You can listen to me talk Nashville is Talking, what happened after I flounced out of WKRN in a huff, how my work translated in San Francisco, how taking that job in New York was a mistake and why after a short stint in San Jose I said, "Fuck it. I'll just wait tables and write."

Hear all that stuff here.


The Best Ways to Belt

The most important thing is that the belt fits your natural waistline. Some belts work with some garments and don’t with others. You can always have another hole punched if you’re a half-inch off somewhere (most shoe-repair shops can do this).

Finally, know that a belt will break up the line of your body. That doesn’t mean shorter girls can’t do it (I personally don’t think looking taller is looking better in the first place), but think about using a belt that’s a similar color to the garment.

Oh, one more thing! A belt is going to define your curves, so keep whatever you wear underneath your shirt or dress as thin (fabric-wise) and fitted around your hips as possible.

via holdenarchive.tumblr.com

I am so glad I asked. I had no idea.

Visit Holden's new fashion blog and get advice tailored for you.


I Am Not a Journalist

It has been asked, by local media mavens and anonymous assholes alike, what the hell I'm doing at CBS 5. A comment I made in response to someone who asked me why I wasn't doing any "newsgathering" at the station perhaps can clear that up:

[M]y role here is to read, promote, highlight and otherwise cover the local blogosphere. We have a bevy of talented and tenacious reporters and producers on staff who do a fantastic job at newsgathering. By having someone reading hyperlocal blogs in house, CBS 5 can be aware of myriad local issues that no news team can thoroughly cover 100% of the time. Thanks to blogs like Claycord.com, and CBS 5's willingness to listen to area bloggers and have a relationship with them, newgathering can be a symbiotic process--not to mention a new and exciting one. I like the notion that a news team is listening to local citizens who might just know better than they do what is going on in their neighborhoods. It shows respect for the viewer and a real concern for the community.

You want to know something? I'm a shitty newsgatherer. Hard news is not my bag. My degree is in magazine journalism, a certificate I got in hopes of writing long-form profile pieces, or maybe film criticism. This blogging in a newsroom thing fell into my lap, but never once have I ever stated that I am a reporter. I am not. I don't even consider myself a journalist.

Because I publish for a news station, people want to box me in to what *they* think newsroom employees should be. I'm the first to admit that an opinionated blogger in the newsroom is a jolt to an age-old system, but I'm just doing the job I've been asked to do. Which is to cover the local blogosphere the best way I know how--by blogging about it.

Here's the thing, though: I don't have to do any original reporting for the station to benefit. The Bay Area is crawling with people passionate about their communities. They have their feelers out, covering the legislature, watching their streets and otherwise covering the San Francisco-area like a blanket. In fact, there are so many awesome local bloggers out there breaking and reporting news that you need a human to point you to the best and most important stuff. This, my friends, is my job.

Sure, I could provide more and better original content. I could do longer, more thoroughly researched pieces. I have vast room for improvement. I am too often lured by the pressure to post more and more often, and my work suffers for it from time to time. I can be lazy; it's true. But I don't feel like the way I need to improve is by doing shoeleather reporting. There are better folks at that than me, and I've got other things to offer. I'm not the best writer in the world, nor am I all that funny. I'll agree with you there. But I won't agree that I need to be out "doing real reporting," because my title is blogger. Not reporter. Let's leave real reporting to the experts--the working journalists and the citizen ones who live and work and play in the communities they cover.

UPDATE #1: Here's how my job as a non-journalist blogger pays off:

I never liked channel 5.I was always a ktvu kind of guy. But ever since I started reading claycord I've noticed they cover our area better than anybody else,and now I watch them every night and read their website everyday.

KTVU is #1 in this market. Sure, this is just one person's account, but this is a new way of winning viewers in the digital age--proving your trust as a news providers in innovative ways.


Business Blogging: Keep It Real

A Bay Area blogger asked me to share a few sentences about corporate or professional blogs. Basically, those built for PR purposes. He works for a museum that is thinking of starting a blog, and he asked me to impart some wisdom. I gave him this instead:

Things I think are important to consider when working with a corporate or otherwise professional blog:


  • Be authentic and genuine. Have personality. Bland, boring press releases will be ignored. Consider have the blogger write in first person.

  • Have fun with it. People need a reason to come *back* to a blog like one for your museum. Sure, they may go there the first time for info, but having engaging writing is key. Don't be afraid to loosen things up a bit.

  • Participate in the blog community. If you don't read, link to or otherwise engage other bloggers your site will not see much traffic.

  • Be transparent. Don't lie to people, they'll figure it out. Don't use wormy wording as businesses are so inclined to do. Don't use a bunch of industry lingo unless your site is geared specifically toward a niche group.

  • Encourage participation. Don't make people jump through hoops to comment. Welcome dialogue and exchange.


I think there is a lot more to explore here, but this is a good jumping off point. Just remember that blogging provides an opportunity for readers to get to know the person behind the site or learn things they can't get elsewhere. Make it engaging and make it genuine and you will be surprised how much mileage you will get.


KPIX On-Air Piece #2

This morning I was on the t.v. again, this time with the super smart Sweet Melissa, who could teach me a thing or two about how to act in front of the camera. If you watch the video above, notice when they cut to the two-shot of us how she is leaned forward on her forearms in a very serious, woman-to-watch-for way while I lean back with the goofy grin on my face. She looks so self-assured. I should smile less.

There were less uh's and um's this time, so cheers to that. And thanks to Melissa for getting up so early on a weekend to come in for the show. She was my first choice for the blogger segment, which may become a regular thing*

*I need to find out how often I can appear on the air before I am considered "talent" and have to pay $1500 in dues, I was told today. I'd NOT like to get surprised with that sort of bill, so thank you very much, Mr. Producer, for the heads up.


Put Your Eyes On My Eye On Blogs Blog

The work blog is now live, though a work in progress. Here's my favorite piece of promotional copy that left the station today:

Our editorial team has created a unique focus today with www.cbs5.com/eyeonblogs. Editor, Brittney Gilbert, made a name for herself in the Nashville market and her opinions earned her a great following and the ire of the Nashville establishment. Unlike Nashville, the more opinionated the better when it comes to the Bay Area unique user base!

Hope you will come check it out.