January 21, 2006
Neil over at Guardian Unlimited on "citizen journalism" and blogs.
We've developed story ideas and even recruited columnists after spotting particularly pithy or original comments on the blogs,
I realise that most bloggers couldn’t care less about what the newspapers say or think on any subject whatsoever, that at least 95% are using blogs as they did the telephone or a coffee morning. To keep in touch with friends, just communicate with the world in general.
Neil (and I but my opinions are less important than those of one inside the tent) thinks that the other 5% will have an impact on the major papers. Not by replacing them, or the editorial teams, or the brands (although that might happen in a small way) but by acting as an incubator for those who go on to be picked up and then paid.
But, since this is my blog and I am free to be as curmudgeonly as I like here, I'm going to insist on offering up my three, slightly crap, British blogging predictions for 2006.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
1/ Seen from the perspective of the mainstream media, the British blogosphere will be seen less as an alternative to the mainstream, and more as a breeding ground for writing and (later) broadcasting talent that's then mainstreamed. In other words: we'll see quite a few bloggers make the move to big media in 2006. Tim, making a similar prediction, suggested Justin McKeating, the blogger behind Chicken Yoghurt, might be a good candidate.
Hey, it happened for Oliver Kamm!
Slightly more seriously I think that might actually come to pass, that blogging replaces, for some at least, the traditional two years on a regional or local paper.
January 21, 2006 | Permalink
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" ... blogging replaces, for some at least, the traditional two years on a regional or local paper."
And it'll be a bad thing if it ever does. What's wrong with Polly Toynbee and the rest of tehgrauniad's more easily mocked regulars is that they know nothing about actual newsgathering, and spend their time woolgathering. (Sorry that just came to me.)
Journalists are -- or ought to be -- out there, and merely reporting back here. Bloggers just sit on their arses or in their pajamas and just act as a sort of virtual cow's fifth stomach to the news digestion process.
And I know you think differently, but quite a lot of the coverage of the July bombings, both on cellphones and by the regular broadcast media struck me as unneccesarily invasive of the privacy of the dead, injured, and shocked.
Neil McIntosh says "Where recording video once required a lot of expensive equipment, now you can get by with a mobile phone. The quality might not be great but it's better than nothing, and the phone images from the London bombings last year were no less powerful for being grainy and dark."
Yeah, and that also gave us images of a woman leaping to her death. At least the Torygraph had some atavistic decency and refused to publish.
Tim adds: The photos and videos I pretty much agree with you. The fifth stomach is a great metaphor. Yes, I’ll steal it. But given that’s what I think newspapers are now....not a place to get news but a place to get what the news means, after it’s been digested, then I think I’ll disagree with you on it being a bad idea.
For example, wouldn’t it be interesting to get someone who has actually run a business reporting on business?
Posted by: Backword Dave | Jan 21, 2006 2:25:20 PM
"Bloggers just sit on their arses or in their pajamas (sic)". Some do, some don't. Same with journalists I think? And most of the latter similarly want an angle, in their case preferably their proprietor’s, on their 'news'. This inexperienced blogger will be out tomorrow knocking on the doors of the unsuspecting, non-chattering classes to try and find out what, if anything, might be bothering them
But I do agree about the photos and videos. And the London whale is a pretty dispiriting 'major news' story for anyone who has faith in human intellect isn't it?
Posted by: Hughes Views | Jan 21, 2006 3:34:42 PM
"What's wrong with Polly Toynbee...is that they know nothing about actual newsgathering, and spend their time woolgathering"
I think that's pretty unfair on Toynbee. She's got a good record for reporting, I'd say.
On the photos of the suicide, I think only the Standard, Sun and Times showed the pictures.
Posted by: Matthew | Jan 21, 2006 6:20:34 PM
The real breakthrough for UK political blogging would be for a political blogger to be invited onto 'Question Time' or 'Any Questions' as a blogger per se - and nobody's brand, I'm afraid probably not even yours, is strong enough for that yet (unless, of course, it's already been done and I've just made an idiot of myself).
As for more bloggers being picked up by mainstream -
Firstly, do they want to be? Yes, we could all do with the money, but we are our own editors, we have no shareholders to keep happy, we can say as much or as little as we like and most importantly what we like - and we can still be read all over the world.
What's not to like about that?
Secondly, the British media seems incredibly incestuous. They will not run with people they don't know. If a blogger gets picked up by a paper, it may just as likely to be because of who, and not what, they know.
Fine. Let it be thus...and blog on...
Tim adds: There’s some truth to the last of it but I do think that is changing slowly, as Neil’s comments about the Groan show. There’s a book review by me somewhere in the bowels of the Telegraph (in the queue to publish) that was commissioned purely on the basis of my blogging. The people at The Times have been known to phone round bloggers for The Thunderer column.
About political blogging, yes QT would be the mark of "breakthrough". Won’t be me for sure. Great face for radio me.
Posted by: The g-Gnome | Jan 21, 2006 6:27:40 PM
Tim/all... having sat next to Polly for a couple of years a while ago, I can confirm she reports harder than many reporters I've met. I'd have thought that's also pretty evident from her output, even if you disagree with her conclusions.
I accept, of course, that most bloggers don't want to be "discovered" - many may be horrified by the prospect - but even if a tiny percentage want, and get, found via blogs I think the media will be a better place for it...
Posted by: Neil McIntosh | Jan 21, 2006 10:56:47 PM
OK, OK. So I was wrong there (about Polly Toynbee).
Posted by: Backword Dave | Jan 22, 2006 4:17:42 PM
G-Gnome - without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I was invited onto a CNN panel discussion a few months back thanks to a blog piece I did (and not on the London bombs either, which makes a change), but couldn't make it...
Posted by: Nosemonkey | Jan 23, 2006 11:32:33 AM