I love a blog post which asks a good question. This lunchtime the editor of the Birmingham Post, Marc Reeves, popped up five corkers as he wrote about how one of his
guest (corrected thanks to Jon) bloggers had attracted a good chunk of derision from readers for this post and this one.
So those questions…
- Is a blog a tool only for individuals rather than media brands or organisations: A blog is one of two things – a stream of information attached to an RSS feed – or a tool for conversation. I’ve never managed to hold very enjoyable conversations with a brand or an organisation. So I plump firmly for the individual here.
- What ‘control’ should a host brand such as the Post impose on its individual bloggers? As much as you like – you’re the boss. The problem is that if you assert too much control then the fun part of the blogging will go away, because your writers will be looking over their shoulder and the readers will sense they’re neutered. Two questions to ask yourself: What is news? if you describe something as a news blog what would you expect to find in it? What reasons would be good enough to ask someone to stop blogging? Clearly a contemptuous attitude to libel might be one. Would racism be another? How about 3 boring posts and your out. They’re a bit of an idiot? Again, you’re the boss…
- What are the Post’s brand values in the eyes of readers? – In my eyes – changing. I think the quality which will most endear me to the post is openess and transparency because that creates the opportunity for an intelligent debate, which this city needs and the Post is well positioned to host. Coupled with lots of photos of people holding glasses of wine and standing next to Brian Woods Scawen.
- Are traditional news brands inherently incapable of adapting to the new – two-way – nature of online journalism? No – some journalists might be, but they shouldn’t be blamed for that. You’ve got to be quick though. Just look at the falling revenue from all those estate agents trying to save money on their advertising budgets.
- What now constitutes expertise in a given field? Fastest finger on google? Nah – too flippant. It is the depth of thought that I admire. Why? Because the web has made it easier than ever for us all to passionately hold to half thought through or borrowed ideas. I also reckon that highly networked people are well placed to be experts because they have access not just to information but other people’s brains to help them think through ideas. Did I just describe a university?
I also suggest you read the comments section on the post, many of my answers are echoed there.
(Marc – you just got 4 links with one post!)