Sky News to recruit hundreds of election bloggers

I had heard whispers about this, but now it’s out in the open… Sky News has b-i-g online plans for the next general election, whenever it might come. They’re currently offering a PhD scholarship at City University in ‘Citizen Media / User-Generated Content’, with a specific role in mind:

For the first year of their PhD the appointee will work closely with Sky News on an innovative project to recruit several hundred “citizen journalists” to report on the next UK general election campaign. The project aims to allow contributors to do more than simply give their opinion; instead they will be expected to write stories, take pictures and possibly record video.
The appointee’s role would be to work closely with Sky News to recruit suitable contributors, mentor them and guide them in creating the right sort of content, and manage their contributions. … For approximately 4 days a week the appointee will be based within the Sky News website operation, and will also work with the Sky News Election campaign team.

In other words – Sky’s killer idea for general election coverage is to hand it over to the bloggers. It makes a lot of sense to me: politics works on blogs, and the public is disillusioned with conventional political coverage. Sky has wisely spotted an opportunity to become the home of political blogging in the UK… and should look for ways to develop the kind of community interaction that can keep it interesting. (I won’t say any more for now…)

Applications to be in by 31 August, but be warned: the £13k salary is not guaranteed after the first year. Er, I guess the lucky winner had better hope Gordon isn’t planning an early election. 🙂

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