Your Voice, Live from the Scene: WPrightnow

Do you regularly write about events that affect you, but find it hard to connect with interested readers? Have you wondered where to look for on-the-ground, personal stories on the topics that dominate the news? Today, we announce a new current events tag, WPrightnow, to help strong writers find new readers (and vice versa).

Photo by Aly Hazzaa

Traditional news outlets are crucial for getting the basic facts right. Your Twitter and Facebook feeds provide quick, unfiltered updates about events as they unfold.  What we often yearn for, though, is a personal angle: someone on the ground, or deeply involved with the story, to walk us through their own take on a complex event. When we learn why it matters to them, we begin to understand why we, too, should care.

Luckily, WordPress.com bloggers are everywhere. When a revolution shakes Egypt, or the Supreme Court of the United States makes a landmark decision, they’re among the first to provide quality, in-depth commentary. It’s a great advantage of belonging to the largest blogging community in the world: you automatically have (smart, opinionated) friends in all the right places.

Photo by Aly Hazzaa

Members of the WordPress.com community have done — are doing — an incredible job injecting big stories with their own fresh, unusual perspective. Just last month, as hostages were being held in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a blogger posted her first-hand account of the tragedy:

The siege on Westgate has shifted my perspective, widening the lens. The victims in the attack aren’t strange actors, trapped in some impossibly far away country, tangled in a complex web of politics and violence. They are innocent, ordinary people – mothers and daughters, housewives and poets and bankers and waiters. One of the victims is a regular at the yoga studio I frequent; another is a childhood friend of my best friend here.

Waiting to Exhale,” from Letters from Nairobi

Whether it’s a narrative poem inspired by Trayvon Martin’s death, a critique of the media in the wake of a plane crash, or a biting, imagined dialogue about the civil war in Syria, these pieces go beyond mere reporting. They invite us to think, to debate, and to engage in a conversation (in real life, in the comments section, or on our own blogs).

Do you enjoy writing about the people and events that shape your own corner of the world? Make your voice heard, and your posts easier to find by like-minded bloggers. Just like you mark your longer pieces with the ever-popular WPlongform tag, set your current events-related posts apart with WPrightnow (feel free to use #WPrightnow on Twitter, too!). Make your content visible for those who look for an intimate take on big stories. We love seeing the world through your eyes.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what’s abuzz in the community — from a collection of top reads to publishing news and bloggers in the spotlight — subscribe to WordPress.com Weekend Reads, which we’ll deliver right to your inbox.


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Ben Huberman

28 Comments

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  1. spookmoor

    I think what my problem is, I tend to harp on what happened in the past which people in general seem disinterested in? However it actually shows how the present happened.

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      I agree completely that quite often the challenge is to find a way to make the past alive and relevant for present-day readers (especially those who might not be super-knowledgeable about a particular topic). But it’s an effort worth making: an anecdote, an analogy, or a comparison can all be very useful to connect a current event with its history, even if it’s in the distant past.

      Like

  2. Ron Scubadiver

    I would like to see some tags promoting different genres of photography get official support from WP staff. Right now “photography” is overflowing compared to the other possibilities. “Black and White” is 50% not about black and white photography. I think WP is a great platform to display my photography. It continually gets better, but there are ways to make it better yet.

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      Hi Ron, you make an important point, and are absolutely correct that we should always strive to make WordPress.com even better. We’re continuously thinking about ways to make specific content within popular topics more visible and accessible, and photography — like current events — is definitely a topic that can benefit from such an effort.

      Like

    • sheindie

      I agree… I travel throughout the Delta, taking pictures of elderly, authentic Bluesmen, structures that have fallen to ruin, Blues festivals and Juke Joints… my ‘tags’ are delta blues, mississippi delta, blues photography …not featured or promoted or officially supported by/from WP staff imho.

      Like

      • Ron Scubadiver

        Your subject matter sounds exciting, but I can’t think of a more generic tag to use. I know a lot of photographers like performing musicians as subjects. By the way, I lived in Mississippi for a while. I did not get to see authentic Bluesmen, but I did get pretty deep into flooded rice fields in in search of a few ducks to shoot (dead).

        Like

  3. metiefly

    Thanks for the effort and innovation you and the WP team put in… It really makes a difference!

    Like

  4. Welcome the Weird Productions

    So to use #WPrightnow, what do you do? Just add it to the url post? I’ve never done this but my post about contacting the White House and why I couldn’t is current news about the government shutdown.

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      To tag your post with WPrightnow, just add it like you would any other tags you choose for your post, in the Tags Module on your editor screen. There’s no need to change anything in your post’s URL.

      Like

  5. Nina Kaytel

    Thank you. I didn’t start a Blog to show my views on the world, but, rather, my progression as a writer. The journey of returning to the basics to becoming more knowledgeable of my craft. I didn’t imagine that I would be as intrigued on the entire spectrum of blogging. I find myself reading blogs that speak of more than just the world of creative writing. I find myself learning from people who blog about their lives, food and wine, and current events. By reading others you hear their voices.

    Like

  6. farsails

    Ben, I can agree with you that the “traditional news outlets are crucial for getting the basic facts right.” But, unfortunately, objective journalism, or even most reporters trying to be objective, is pretty much dead. Most content is too much about how people feel about the news rather than the news itself. Human interest stories are one thing, and important; but hard journalism needs to be revived. Everything is blurred today.

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      I agree that it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish between different types of reporting, especially since there’s so much information coming at us from all directions. Which is one more reason why personal accounts from involved bloggers hold a special value: it’s not to replace straight-up news, but to give it more context and detail.

      Like

  7. MJ Brewer

    My imagination runs rampant while reading current events, and then continues throughout the night while I’m sleeping. My head is whirling at 250 mph at any given moment from my various blogs, to my writing, my cause in protecting children, and a screenplay I’m working on. I hardly have time to advertise myself, I’m so busy contributing.

    Like

  8. Jean

    The tag of wprightnow then would become obsolete after 36, 48 hrs. when the event has occurred… More useful to tag the blog post on the name of the event. I have written as a person who experienced a major event in person –2010 Winter Olympics as a Vancouver BC resident, the 2013 Alberta Flood in Calgary. But we are talking about big cataclysmic events that cost money and affect thousands of people.

    Wprightnow also applies to birth and death of our loved ones who have shaped our lives.

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      The shorter shelf life of the WPrightnow tag is actually part of its value: as new events dominate our attention, they will be the first ones we see when we search for fresh, personal angles on big stories. This is why it’s also crucial not to forget to tag your posts with other relevant tags, as you say: that way, if someone wants to read about that event a month from now, they’d still find your post.

      Like

  9. Jean

    I should add that I have had readers on the above events mentioned. It depends where else I go to participate regularily in forums, etc.

    Like

  10. gabrielcgottlieb

    Is it sad that I first wondered whether the above picture was from a Mid East war zone or a scene from Detroit?

    Like

  11. sheindie

    I write about and photograph the Mississippi Delta, the sights, the few authentic Juke Joints, the elderly Bluesmen who deserve recognition & recording labels – I include their music/videos – this culture, these musicans are dying out…and so I record via my blog, and flickr

    Like

  12. shewritersonpaper

    This was very inspirational–pushed me to keep my eyes open to the world outside and write about everything :)

    Like

  13. Budge

    Great work. WordPress just keeps getting better and better!! Before WPrightnow I created a Category called kNews with a tag line “Based on news and current affairs. Its news thats a little bit different” Looking forward to trying the new tag out.
    Thanks Ben

    Like

  14. reyajoy

    WPrightnow… I like it. Thanks!

    Like

  15. HaroldWrites

    Absolutely fantastic! But umm, if one should tag all his posts as WPrightnow, would that count as spamming? And will he be brought before the WordPress Court of Justice? Just thinking aloud!

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      Well, I’d say that tagging any post with a tag that doesn’t relate to its subject matter is a form of spamming. At the same time, if all a blogger writes about happens to be news-related, then why not? Luckily, no court of justice is needed — in the long run, readers are smart, and know to avoid blogs that falsely advertise their content.

      Like

  16. stonewallgalleries

    Yes farsails – couldn’t agree more.

    I was watching the very highly respected Australian TV program ‘ABC24′ this morning. After a short news session describing the current US fiscal deadlock made by one of the reporters on the show, the ‘anchor’ asked the reporter what she thought the outcome would be – she replied (refreshingly) – “I wouldn’t know I’m just reporting the facts”. Thank god good honest reporting is still out there somewhere.

    Time for a change…..?

    Like

  17. susielindau

    This tag would have been great for my Boulder flood post. Twitter hashtags brought readers, but I can see how this could serve as another great tool. Thanks!

    Like

  18. David H Deans

    If the news is not being reported without bias (intentionally) then perhaps it’s best tagged “in my humble opinion” #IMHO — or maybe it could be a supplemental tag added to #WPrightnow

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      People are of course welcome to tag their posts however they see fit!
      The idea here is that while one person’s perspective is clearly more limited than a multi-source story, it also has potential to convey more depth and passion than more traditional reporting. In other words, one isn’t there to replace the other, but to complement it.

      Like

  19. MissMangue

    We live in a world so destructive and disorganized, often there are places that seem drawn from a movie. In recent years the fiction is more real than reality itself, and there is no difference. Because now the reality imitates fiction and vice versa. Sometimes when I see an attack on television I do not know if what I’m seeing is an action movie.

    Like

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