27 June 2006

BBC and most influential Australian on blogging

"Down with blogs...so here's another", says the BBC website , reflecting the ambivalence many people feel about blogs, as it launches its blog "The Editors":

If you believe the hype, blogs are as significant as the invention of the printing press for their ability to change the way the world will be seen. If on the other hand you believe the counter-hype, blogs are a self-indulgence which pander to dull people's misguided beliefs that they have something interesting to say.

Journalists have their own takes on blogs - broadcaster Mark Lawson, for one, says that "although the word blog suggests attitude and subversion, it's really just a hi-tech kind of diary and carries the identical risk of Pooterism".

Some believe that only journalists should really be allowed to write endlessly about themselves. Others believe blogs soar to beautiful new interactive heights. A third group don't understand blogs, but are terrified of being left behind.

Happily there is yet another group, including the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson, who don't think blogs will necessarily change the world, but do believe they offer a fresh way of turning the traditional roles of writer and reader into those of people having a conversation.

Blogs can be many things - trouble-making, independent, cool, nerdy, peppered with annoying links, even full of kittens who look like Hitler. They can also be abused for attention-seeking headlines (eg "Down with Blogs"). But one thing they have in common is that they work best when they go both ways - when they are a true exchange.

That's why the editors across BBC News have got together to start their own blog. Called "The Editors", it launches on Monday. The hope is that it will become a discussion forum for all sorts of issues and dilemmas surrounding our news programmes.

Each day, The Editors will include a round-up of where the BBC has been in the news, what members of the audience have told us in the previous 24 hours, our responses to that feedback, and the resulting discussion.

It's not an easy process, but there's a lot to gain - because of the unique way the BBC is funded, we want to be the most open and accountable news organisation in the world.

Today's Australian runs a story "Murdoch tells PM: ditch media reforms" which reports advice which the recently anointed (by The Bulletin) "Most Influential Australian" gives his views on a range of topics. Among other things he mentions blogging: "There are millions and millions of new writers on the internet, mainly writing rubbish, but a lot are writing words of wisdom. As you find your way around it, it is a magnificent thing to see."

No mention here of making News Ltd "the most open and accountable news organisation in the world." Is this one of Mr Murdoch's primary ambitions, or is it subordinate to his desire to profit as much as he can from the phenomenon?

PS Another one for the sceptics: blogs are "the friend of information but the enemy of thought". See here.

1 comment:

nod said...

Blogs are very 21st century and I'm sure that all sorts of glimpses of the genre are yet to appear.

Forerunners in the style stakes have been quick to appear. Guys seem to like Belle de Jour, presumably for the fantasy it supplies. It is so tiring to go through the listings, that by the time I find one I like, I've no energy left to read the bloody thing.