Graduate blogging: Journalism student at top of his game

A few years ago an aspiring broadcast journalism student would try to get a prestigious internship with a local TV station, toil in obscurity and with luck get a low-level job with a small market station. Fast-forward to 21st century and the blogging era.

A few years ago an aspiring broadcast journalism student would try to get a prestigious internship with a local TV station, toil in obscurity and with luck get a low-level job with a small market station. Fast-forward to 21st century and the blogging era.

Brian Stelter is a particularly talented student blogger who is getting invaluable on-the-job training while making better-than-internship wages by writing the blog TVNewser blog.. Better yet, USA Today reports, Stelter has the attention and respect of the elite of his chosen profession.

[A]t an American Society of Newspaper Editors luncheon[,] NBC anchor Brian Williams, the speaker, pointed out Stelter to the guests. Williams explained that in this new-media age, Stelter's online TVNewser blog at Mediabistro.com, was a must-read for anyone in network and cable news.

Stelter, 20, a senior journalism student at Towson University in Maryland, also updates his blog during classes, thanks to the school's wireless Internet service, and on vacation at the beach.

TVNewser "is the closest thing to the bible of what's going on in our industry. But it's a little disconcerting knowing that the main pulse of your industry is being taken by someone who cannot legally take a drink." said NBC anchor Brian Williams who checks it daily.

"I don't know anybody who doesn't find their own business fascinating," CNN's Jeff Greenfield says. "What's striking about this (TVNewser) is he seems to be pretty good at separating fact from rumors. I don't care if he's 20. His standards are the right ones."

At first, Stelter started his blog anonymously 2 ½ years ago, thinking it might ruin future job offerings in the business. But after a few years he realized that to run a blog like this one he had to do a lot of face-to face and phone conversation, so he decided to go public. Now, under a contract with MediaBistro, Stelter is getting his $18,000 in school expenses covered, and then some.

MSNBC chief Dan Abrams says Stelter "is used as much as most reporters. They're given tips and they have to decide, 'Why am I getting this information, is it accurate and what's the context?' I think he has been very good at that."

Last week, after the unexpected death of former Enron chief Ken Lay, someone e-mailed Stelter to say — erroneously and anonymously — that CNBC planned to run a prime-time special on Lay. Stelter posted it but quickly corrected the report after CNBC contacted him. He says his willingness to do so has increased his blog's credibility.

"People write me and say, 'Thank you for correcting yourself.' I guess that's in short supply these days. Not enough people admit when they mess up. To me, credibility is all I have."

TVNewser is run by Mediabistro.

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