Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New blog experiment launches

[Keyword: ]. The Guardian is promoting the launch of its CommentIsFree blog experiment with a couple of articles in today's paper - the first, a comment piece by US columnist Arianna Huffington, who was involved in a similar experiment in the US (which, by the way, isn't nearly as good as the Guardian's attempt). The sharpest point of her column comes at the end, as she talks about how blogs differ from opinion pieces:
"[The] great thing about bloggers: when they decide that something matters, they refuse to let go. They're the true pit bulls of reporting.

"That kind of relentlessness was never available to me as a newspaper columnist. When I started blogging about Judy Miller and the New York Times in 2005, it was something I never could have done as a columnist. My editors would have said: "Oh, you wrote about her last month." [...] By getting on these stories early and staying on them - and by linking to other bloggers covering the story, and having them link back to us - we helped shape and define them.

"Bloggers share their work, argue with each other and add to a story dialectically. It's why the blogosphere is now the most vital news source in America."

Less directly relevant is a piece by Owen Gibson on Rupert Murdoch's "Damascene conversion" to new media. "Internet means end for media barons, says Murdoch" proclaims the headline, followed by the straplines "Magnate hails second great age of discovery"; "Power 'moving from the old elite to bloggers'"

Anyway, back to the Guardian's blog experiment, CommentIsFree*. Firstly, it looks good. Even a cursory glance results in you getting drawn into one of the many fascinating discussions taking place. It deserves particular credit for the way it gives the user a number of different ways to navigate the content - by recency, by contributor, by subject, by activity, and so on. There's a huge amount here, and it's going straight into my personalised Google homepage...

*Described as "a collective group blog, bringing together regular columnists from the Guardian and Observer newspapers with other writers and commentators representing a wide range of experience and interests. The aim is to host an open-ended space for debate, dispute, argument and agreement and to invite users to comment on everything they read."


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