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Blogtipping July 2007

Do You Blogtip? courtesy Business Blogwire

Taa-daah! 

I usually never remember that the first of every month is the traditional day for blogtipping (sort of like Web 2.0 cowtipping) but with a Yahoo! calendar email reminder, a thwack with a two-by-four and some other mental pokes, here I am to join the monthly crowd

There’s sort of a standard format to these and I never follow it, but no one seems to mind….

This month, I want to highlight three new “old media” travel blogs, just to show that there are no hard feelings from my own recent corporate blogging experience.

1)  The Travel Log blog for the Washington Post travel section.  Team-written by section editors, it has very active comments sections written by experienced, articulate travelers, but I’d like to see more comment responses back from the writers for a better conversation. The recent series on wedding and honeymoon travel was fun to read, and reminded me that the best weddings aren’t necessarily angst-filled expensive blow-outs.

2)  This Just In…. blog from Budget Travel.  These guys cast a wide net and usually update multiple times daily.  I’ve learned about all sorts of new or lesser-known blogs and travel sites, plus late-breaking news like J.K. Rowling’s three-stop book tour in the U.S. in October 2007, which has already inspired me to figure out how to take my teenage daughter to New Orleans (it’s the closest city to our home in Texas) to see the Harry Potter creator.  I don’t even have to stray too far to get the lowdown on New Orleans; just click over to this article on Budget Travel Online.  These guys have blogging nailed, and they twist into creative pretzels to make just about anything travel-related.

3)  The Taking Off blog from the Chicago Tribune travel section.  Like the WaPo blog, it is team-written, and the writers do try to engage the audience.  Comments are starting to increase, but not to the level of the Post, although a post about kids and flying brought out the usual vituperative anti-child commentary.  Fairly frequent updates, with a Midwestern travel slant (the trans fat-free Indiana State Fair, for example. Who knew?) In an effort to engage readers at the start, there is a 50-day “What state are you in?” road trip challenge. There are some design issues to fix; there’s no way to go to “Previous Entries” at the bottom of the blog front page — you have to go look in the archives.  Comment hot links often show the person’s email, not their blog or Web site URL, which seems like a privacy problem. 

In these days of sometimes forcing journalists to work online, without a commensurate pay raise for the added work, it’s nice to see the newspaper travel sections making an effort (and having some fun with it, if the good-naturedly goofy photos of the Chicago Tribune editors are any indication.) 

Too much travel info is stale by the time it hits the printed street, and blogging allows a good flow of hot topics and info online to complement the in-depth, less-hurried features in print.  It also lets the cash-strapped newspaper travel sections add value to their product and connect with more readers without spending a bunch of money.

Happy Blogtipping Day!

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