Feature: News Flash Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman, of Seattle P-I's Big Blog, shows old media what new media looks like

Category: seattlepi.com teaser headlines

 


When the Seattle Post-Intelligencer changed from a print to an online publication, few journalists were left standing. One of them was the Big Blog’s main contributor Monica Guzman—who’s been busy showing old media what new media looks like.

Name: Monica Guzman
Occupation: New media journalist at seattlepi.com
Age: 27
Education: B.A., Bowdoin College; two-year Hearst Newspaper Fellow
Twitter handle: @moniguzman
How she explains her job: “If I’m feeling really brave, I say I’m a news gatherer for seattlepi.com. Then I explain that reporting is also about moderating material that’s already out there and aggregating information.”
Favorite Web sites: “Facebook and Twitter, because the way people read things online is based on what their friends are reading.”
Who is your typical reader? “Someone who likes to figure out the city that they live in.”
Favorite Twitterers: @seattlemaven, @seattleweekly, @thenewschick, and seattlepi.com colleagues
@joelconnelly, @joshtrujillo, @mcnerthney


Monica Guzman’s career reads a bit like a journalist 2.0 case study—one in which being tech savvy, nimble and a little bit lucky are as important as having a nose for news. The original and primary contributor to the Seattle P-I’s Big Blog and the driving force behind the seattlepi.com’s social media platform, Guzman has written thousands of blog posts, can boast 7,000 Twitter followers and a slew of devotees (readers, tech geeks and marketing types hoping to learn her secrets) who attend her weekly “meet-ups.” Though she’s helped pioneer a form of newsgathering where linking to stories and fostering a dialogue with readers goes hand-in-hand with original reporting, the 27-year-old Guzman has yet to write an investigative piece of her own—essential experience for traditional journalists. She is, however, one of the few survivors of the publication’s transformation from a daily newspaper to an online-only media outlet. (Full disclosure: Seattle mag is one of the seattlepi.com’s media partners.) And while other reporters scramble for a foothold in the new media world, Guzman has already found it and is looking ahead to what’s next. We sat down with her recently to get her side of the story.

You helped launch the Big Blog in 2007. What was the original goal behind creating an all-encompassing news blog?
It was so undefined in the beginning. The head of online at the P-I, Michelle Nicolosi, wanted to experiment with a blog that covered all sorts of topics and had its own voice and could serve as a portal to the site. We looked at The Stranger’s news and arts blog, the Slog, as an example of how a multi-author, multi-topic blog could work. My job was to help make something that works.

You were the only online reporter when you joined the P-I. How did you carve a niche for yourself?
It was hard, because the Big Blog was a new concept in a newsroom that felt lik