Aside

Blogging from NewsWatch06, Bournemouth Uni 8th June 2006

It was a great day: sun, nice food and interesting debate. Shame Bournemouth Uni campus is not actually by the sea…….

The conference focussed on the impact of blogs, citizen journalism, podcasts etc on traditional media (also known as ‘big media’). There were even a few bloggers blogging away during the conference. I have posted a few dull pics – see left nav bar.

Here is a totally biased summary of  the important stuff…

Stephen Dukes, head of school, Bournemouth Media School: He said students did not seek out blogs when looking at stories such as the Iraq War. Students tended to "stick with traditional media suppliers". But he still feared a gap could emerge between "middle-aged media executives" and their "young audience" (who used technology).

Kevin Marsh, BBC big knob, former editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, founded BBC College of Journalism: He said: "News is no longer a lecture, it is a conversation." The BBC would look at all emerging technology, but admitted that much of it won’t come to anything. He said about future technology: "You don’t need to be right, just be ready".

Marsh added: "Trust is a very important commodity…do bloggers have trust?". He said that there would always be a need for a trained journalists who had "skills of verification and research". In contrast to citizen journalists, trained journalists had "access to experts."

[A panel member asked: "Would you go to a ‘citizen doctor’ or ‘citizen lawyer’ for advice?" So why should we trust a ‘citizen journalist’? But this assumes that newspapers (and other big media brands) have trust. The tabloids don’t really have trust. Perhaps the BBC does?

Quick summary of other stuff:

1) The Guardian requires all its opinion writers to have a blog (see Comment is Free). But the newspaper is concerned that some opinion writers routinely have their articles pulled apart by better informed contributors. [Martin Stabe, Press Gazette]

2) There is a distinction between being ‘a blogger’ and ‘someone that has a blog’. e.g. Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun’s Political Columnist, has a blog. But he is not ‘a blogger’ because he does not engage with his audience. Blogging is a two-way conversation. [Alfie Dennen, MoBlog].

3) The BBC, MTV and Channel 4 are all said to be creating shows which have audience input (some form of citizen journalism) at their heart.

4) 80% of journalist students surveyed at Bournemouth Uni did not have a blog. Few listened to podcasts. [Dr Mark Passera, Bournemouth Media School]. In short, perhaps all this talk about blogging is a fuss over nothing when so few people look at them or contribute.

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