Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Five Topic Resources for Political Bloggers

My usual blogging topic of choice -- here at KN@PPSTER, at C4SS, at Come Home America, micro-blogging on Facebook and Twitter, guest/ghost-blogging at various and sundry places you've never heard of under names you wouldn't recognize -- is politics. I've been at it for more than a decade (heck, way more than a decade, since back before "blogs" were things), and I like to think I'm reasonably competent at it. So I try to share tips when they come to mind.

One obvious problem political bloggers face, day in and day out, is "what to blog about?" There's always something going on, of course ... but what's interesting? What's in your particular niche? What are others blogging about that you might want to link to and comment on?

Here are five resources I use to stay on top of topic:

  1. Rational Review News Digest -- Well, duh. I'm the publisher there, I've worked on it since 1996 (when it was Freedom News Daily; it actually goes back to 1991 as Libernet) and I'm proud of it. It's a daily roundup (with excerpts and links) of news and commentary "of interest to libertarians." On any given day we cover 20-30 news stories and 30-40 commentaries (not all libertarian material per se -- libertarians are interested in stuff from the "left" and "right" as well) on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter and via email editions. Chances are you'll find something to blog about at RRND.
  2. Memeorandum -- Robert Stacy McCain recommended this one to me as a cure for writer's block, way back before he succumbed to the glamour of evil and decided to master his readers with sin (these days his blog is oriented toward providing porn of the teen lesbian and teacher/student variety, covered with a cheap veneer of faux moral outrage so that his readers can unconvincingly pretend they're not pervs). The cool thing about Memeorandum is that it doesn't just cover current topics -- it covers blog coverage of current topics. You can see who's writing about what and find abundant link goodness to other coverage of your chosen story.
  3. Antiwar.com -- If foreign policy is in your wheelhouse, Antiwar.com's front page is your best friend. Loads of linked news highlights from around the world. Scads of "viewpoints" links to global commentary. Its own blog, its own columnists. There's always something there to get you started.
  4. The Price of Liberty -- MamaLiberty and Nathan Barton update this blog daily with their own "Libertarian Commentary on the News" (as well as stand-alone pieces on various subjects). Their commentaries generally draw on RRND (see above) as well as other sources and make for a pretty good summary of what libertarians are noticing and why. Even if you're not a libertarian yourself, this is good stuff to know.
  5. An RSS Reader -- You're going to want to build your own list of frequently consulted sources, and there are just too many blogs out there to keep track of using browser bookmarks. Pick an RSS reader (I use InoReader) and make a point of adding a blog's feed to it whenever you realize you've found a good source. When you're topic-hungry, open the reader and scan the latest material. You'll almost certainly find something you'd like to write about.

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