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Why newspapers should and shouldn't blog

Huge topic, and a very topical one as newspaper blogs are popping up all over the place – at least in the UK (I follow UK and Scandinavian media in-depth, as I've got strong ties to both regions, and so far newspaper blogs are more prolific in the the UK).

The main question here, which Andrew Grant-Adamson, a former lecturer of mine, posed a while back, is "What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?", and subsidiary "What are they trying to achieve?" and "Are they achieving it?".

In his first post on the topic, he concluded: "This afternoon of browsing newspaper blogs leaves me confused. Some of the offerings are very good but too many seem like ways of presenting traditional content in a 'look we understand the digital age' way, while others are dumping grounds for copy that would never get into the paper." The post caused a wide debate, and culminated with this piece in The Press Gazette, where Andrew concluded:

"There is neither the money to throw around nor the time among the often woefully small staff to play with the latest toys. Everything must have a clear purpose if the 'end of newspapers and magazines' predictions are not to become fact."

Many of the points raised in this debate comes down to getting the format of blogs right, and not just jumping one the bandwagon without thinking it through. As Emily Bell, The Guardian's digital editor eloquently put it in her article on politicians trying to blog:

"Embracing a medium does not mean just copying a format, it means understanding the rules of engagement.... No doubt between now and the next election the increase in politicians blogging will be like lemmings falling off a cliff, but a word of advice if I may. Unless you have an inner blogger - don't bother."



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