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Today I was thinking: should journalism students be required to publish a blog? It would be a good way to get people to write consistently and for an audience. In my experience, that's a really good thing.
Plus, lots of bloggers have gotten noticed by newspapers, magazines, or other websites, and landed real writing jobs.
is a good example. The 30-year-old architect from Baghdad started a blog during the war, and soon got international attention for it. Now he writes for The Guardian and other publications. See Wikipedia
and The Guardian
for more on his story.