Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Blog v Newspapers Debate from a Newbie‏

There is an ongoing debate between the columnist/papers and bloggers on the benefits of blogging over newspaper columns (with regards to political blogging), Mark Reckons attended a debate on this very subject (detail here). As a newbie to blogging I find this intellectual debate somewhat self facing as the wider public properly doesn’t give a stuff.

I only recently discovered blogs when Mark Thompson editor of Mark Reckons joined our LibDem local party here in Bracknell. I now write for the Bracknell blog and I am very much learning how to do this as I go along. I recently realised that what you really need is contacts so you can break meaningful stories, which I am trying to build. It’s important to research your argument as you may find that you’re wrong and research brings meaning and enlightenment to your blog and makes your articles far more credible.

I have learnt a lot about writing which is very beneficial as im dyslectic (that word is just too hard). I have also learnt how important it is to know what you are writing/talking about. Researching for understanding, which has really helped me articulate myself better in general.

With regards to the debate there is a good argument on both side of the fence. Columnist are respected professionals who have a background in their subjects and the newspapers they work for have the power of investigative journalism and resource they can bring to bear on a story plus they get paid (although Boris thought that its chicken feed).

Bloggers vary much more from people in the know to people who are just very opinionated. Also some blogs are trying to offer a service and can be comment, news, a diary or a political mouth piece. Although blogs are generally politically aligned the bloggers do tend to refer to each other more than columnist do and do this across party lines. Bloggers are also happy to have a go at their own side. This must be a good thing.

What I like about blogs over columns is that you can comment on a story and the blogger will read and comment back. Comments can sometimes be as informative as the blog itself depending on the level of debate. It allows anyone to have a right to reply. This allows a conversation to develop which can develop the story further.

Blogs of course really come into there own when something is happening in the area of the blogger as was the case with Bracknell Blog when Andrew Mackay resigned or the excellent blogging by the Norfolk Blogger when the Norwich North by-election was in full swing. Blogs are just different I can’t see them taking over from newspapers or 24hour news but they can provide an insight into what is happening on the ground.

There should be room for both, the best blogs (those with good debate and enlightenment to the workings of politics in my view) there are bad blogs too but there readership will disappear. Columnists can blog too of course and their columns are often online and can be commented on. The problem for newspapers is that they need to find another way of making money, as money is required for some investigations as well as time.

I don't know what will actually happen in the future. I do want newspapers to survive with quality maintained but don't knock the blogs they are vibrant and interesting and here to stay. My suggestion to the columnists is if you can’t beat them then join them and blog too.

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  1. When it comes to content cream will always rise, so it really doesn't matter in what medium you put your opinion across just so long as you get it out there.

    If anyone needs support they will find advice is always on hand if needed.

  2. Two years on I think newspapers are a dying medium, they still have their place but no where near as popular as blogs