How To Start a Blog, From The New York Times

Over the years, I have been a little hesitant to write on my own blog about blogging and my work at the Times, given that I spend my day and sometimes night hours talking about blogs and online strategies here at The New York Times and with other friends in the publishing arts.

In the last few months, though, I have been taking steps towards organizing my thoughts on blogging and online publishing, and writing about them in a more structured fashion. Starting in late September, my colleague, Kathleen McElroy, and I will be teaching an online course for The New York Times titled, “How to Start a Blog”. This course is meant to serve two purposes: To give the uninitiated a fresh look at the anatomy, social and literary functions of a blog – both from the reader’s and writer’s perspective — and to help that person start a new, focused blog from scratch.

We will start out by looking at how people read blogs, and we will try to make you familiar with the common language that makes up the larger web. In the second part of the course, we will turn you into a publisher and give you the tools you’ll need to start blogging and building a community of your own.

The 2-week online class is $90 and is hosted by The New York Times Knowledge Network.

This class is in no way a guide to the secrets and strategies of The New York Times blogs, but rather a patient and methodical look at how blogs operate and are read, paired with the basic tools for starting and maintaining blog – which, I guess, is a strategy of its own.

If you are looking for a more in-depth course, then you might look at the Hyperlocal Blogging course that Mary Ann Giordano will be teaching starting in October. This class will cover the fundamentals of community journalism and local reporting to help you boot up a hyperlocal blog of your own.

Registration closes on September 19th. Feel free to leave any questions about the course in the comments below, and I will do my best to address them.



  1. Jim says:

    Nice, Jeremy! Great idea.

  2. Joe Clark says:

    Let me guess: You will teach students that “to indent something, use BLOCKQUOTE” and “to make a headline, try B I and see if it works”?

    If you don’t teach the bare fundamentals of Web standards and semantics, your students will end up with the skill level of somebody copying and pasting MS Word documents to the Web.


  3. Arikia says:

    I love this! Your students have no idea how lucky they are about to become :)

  4. John says:

    The registration page says that there are no tickets left through TicketWeb.
    Is there any other way to register for the course?

    I delayed in registering because noone has yet responded to my question which I emailed to you:
    Do I need a camera or other equipment for this course?
    Please describe the specifications that you recommend for this extra equipment.

  5. John says:

    Are you cutting the course down to two weeks?
    The ad says “How to Start a Blog” runs on Mondays during a three-week duration.
    September 20 – October 4, 2010, Registration Closes September 19, 2010
    Live Sessions Mondays 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST

  6. Jeremy Zilar says:

    John, good catch.
    The class is only 2 weeks, so maybe they got it wrong in the AD.
    Though keeping in contact and blogging doesn’t need to be limited to just 2 weeks.

  7. Leigh Buchmann says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    I am sorry i missed this class. Will you be teaching the class again?

    Please do let me know, would like to sign up.

    Thanks, Leigh

  8. Jeremy,

    I’m curious about a class for someone who has started a blog but wants to learn the in’s and out’s of increasing readership.

    My blog from Haiti,, was featured earlier this week on WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed,” and I want to capitalize on that exposure.

    My background is in academia–not the world of social media. Any recommendations?

    Greetings from Port-au-Prince,
    Kathryn McCullough

  9. Jeremy Zilar says:


    Currently the class that we are running at the Times is devoted to helping people start up their blogs, get their first posts going and connecting with other bloggers who are writing the same things.

    I will keep that in mind as we look towards developing out future iterations of our blog classes.

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