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What made you become a content creator?
Howard Friedman of Religion Clause: I saw a need that was not being filled by other publications. As a law professor, I had expertise and an interest in First Amendment issues relating to religious liberty and church-state separation. Keeping up with developments in these areas was difficult for those working professionally in the field because none of the traditional legal publishers were producing a publication focused on this content. My goal—which I hope I have successfully achieved in my Religion Clause blog—was to create an authoritative and objective resource for those attempting to keep up with new developments in these areas. I am committed to including links to primary source material (court opinions, statutes, pleadings, regulations, administrative releases and the like) to support every blog post.
What are some of the challenges you face as a content creator?
Howard Friedman: One of my greatest challenges is gauging readership reaction to different sorts of content. In the early years of the blog—when the blogosphere was a more friendly and cooperative place—I encouraged readers to comment on my posts. However, as the nature of the blogosphere changed, I, like most other bloggers, had to cut off that option. I still sometimes get e-mail communications from my readers, though.
Another challenge is determining the extent to which I should cover foreign (non-U.S.) legal developments on religion and law. They often furnish enlightening comparisons. However, primary source material from foreign jurisdictions is more difficult to obtain.
My greatest challenge, though, is to constantly remain religiously and politically neutral in my content. That is what makes Religion Clause unique and valuable to my readers.
What are some digital publications that you follow?
Howard Friedman: I do extensive daily digital searches of news sources for new developments. These lead me to an immense variety of publications. I also follow posts from both conservative and liberal advocacy organizations that litigate in the law and religion arena. Among other publications that I often find useful are SCOTUSblog and Law & Religion UK, as well as the websites of various governmental agencies and departments.
Why did you decide to syndicate your content with Newstex?
Howard Friedman: Newstex reaches exactly the niche audience at which my blog is directed.
What do you like most about creating digital content?
Howard Friedman: As a one-person, low-budget publication, I particularly enjoy locating and covering new legal developments ahead of large national media. I also enjoy the freedom and flexibility of creating digital content.
What do you dislike most about creating digital content?
Howard Friedman: I pretty much like it all or I wouldn’t be doing it.
What inspires you to keep writing?
Howard Friedman: My interest in the subject matter of my blog, and the ability to share this interest with unknown numbers of others, keeps me writing. Notes of appreciation from readers help as well.
What do you think are the benefits of syndicating your content through Newstex?
Howard Friedman: My blog reaches a wider audience of people searching for the specific kind of information that I am making available.
What are the top 3 tips you can give to others wanting to develop successful digital publications?
- Determine who is your target audience and write items that will be of interest to them.
- Do not become fixated on the number of visitors to your digital site. Instead focus on the quality of your audience. Are you reaching those who are your target readers?
- It takes a long time to develop a reputation as a valuable digital site. If you produce consistent quality, slowly but surely you will gain readers and gain influence in the highly competitive digital universe.
Where do you see your blog in 5 years?
Howard Friedman: It appears that issues of religious freedom and church-state separation will continue to be with us as they have been consistently since 2005 when I began Religion Clause. So hopefully I will still be furnishing an engaged audience with information about the newest legal developments in this area.
What has been your proudest achievement as a blogger?
Howard Friedman: Being named to the American Bar Association’s Web 100 Hall of Fame.