The Daily Telegraph web team‘s blog is worth an occasional visit. It isn’t as ‘high-concept’ as, say, Simon Waldman from the Guardian – but they make some interesting points, and it’s good of them to list their top-rated stories each week.
But I’m going to take issue with a comment made there, earlier this week by the site’s production editor Ian Douglas.
The more informal blogging tone doesn’t really suit hard news, though.
I disagree. I can’t think of a better example than the 7 July bombings in London, when the Guardian’s news blog became the best source of information (such as it was) in the immediate aftermath. It doesn’t seem to have been archived, but the live commentary by the blogger/s there was excellent. They weren’t afraid to admit to their own uncertainty, and they did their best to keep the updates coming. It was just what we needed.
If blogs are about brand engagement, why shouldn’t they work in the ‘hard news’ field? Take the example of Sky News, where I used to work. Sky’s brand is about ‘being part of our gang’, as opposed to the BBC’s more patrician tone. So why not have a blog of the latest BREAKING NEWS snaps through the day, plus a summary of the newsroom gossip and banter? Journalism remains an aspirational profession, and it makes sense to capitalise on that.
If the ‘old school’ news business is series about embracing blogging, it has to be more than simply forcing the same old content into a presentation template with permalinks.