Thursday, November 02, 2006

Five reasons why newspaper blogs exist

[Keyword: , , , ]. The Telegraph's Shane Richmond gives a response to Andrew Grant-Adamson's analysis of newspaper blogs (What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?). He identifies five key reasons for creating newspaper blogs:
  1. Niche publishing
  2. Unlimited space
  3. Experimentation
  4. Interactivity
  5. Personality
Or, to quote at length:

"First of all, blogs are niche offerings. Everything in the print edition of the paper has to work for as many people as possible but that isn't the case with blogs.
"[... S]pace is the second point. It's not that these posts aren't good enough for the paper, it's that they won't fit in the paper. There is only so much space in the print edition each day and competition is strong. The blogs give us an opportunity to focus on stories that the paper hasn't been able to cover, or to look at an angle on a story that there wasn't space to develop in print.
"Then there's stuff that the paper would never attempt. For example, for his recent article about music recommendation software The Filter, David Derbyshire spoke to musician Peter Gabriel. The transcript of his interview ran to around 2,000 words but, as is often the case with news stories, only a handful of quotes from the interview made it into print. In the old world the interview would just disappear but, since he has a blog, David put the full transcript on there.
"Likewise, after Christopher Howse wrote an article for the newspaper about comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat film, he followed-up with a blog post which considered one aspect of the story, anti-semitism, in more detail. The post was the most-read post on the blog site last week.
"That brings me to the third point: experimentation. The blogs allow journalists to try things that are a little different from what they normally do and we can experiment technically as well. The blogs were the first part of the site to offer the option to post articles to social news and social bookmarking sites, a feature that has since been added to all of Telegraph.co.uk.
"[...] The blogs really are a conversation, with readers and with other blogs. This post is an example of the latter.
"And therein lies point four: interactivity. The blogs are steered to a great extent by their readers. Our best bloggers have all, at some point, allowed the readers to dictate what they write about. Of course, the paper is shaped by its readers too but with blogs the connection is more immediate and more personal.
"[...] my fifth point: personality. In a recent post I said that it is important to turn more journalists into 'personalities'. Blogging is the ideal way to do this. In a world that is more fragmented, where reader loyalty is harder to maintain, a journalist who is a personality can be a very valuable figure."


UPDATE: Shane has posted a follow-up post with reactions from his fellow Telegraph bloggers.

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