Common User

Me rambling on.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nick Robinson #63 Political Blog in the UK

Probably the best known UK political blogger (behind Guido Fawkes) ; Iain Dale (he reviews the papers on News 24 no less) has been devoting his entire summer to compiling lists of the Top political blogs. (pdf) in the UK. Clearly no slacker, he has put together no less than five Top 100s; The overall list, 1 for non-aligned and 1 each for the tories, labour and lib dems.

And in the overall top 100 Nick Robinson is, #63. Iain's criteria was
I marked each blog out of ten on the following 10 areas: design; frequency of posting; writing ability; personality; comment; humour; range; interaction; popularity; independence of thought. This generated a mark out of 100.
Obviously this is subjective stuff. But oddly Adam Boulton is at #12. Are they so different in what they attempt to do ? More great feedback on BBC blogs in todays Independent profile of who they call the "BBC's Westminster Rottweiller".

"(Nick Robinsons Newslog is) a site on which he is depicted with the sort of graphic art more often found on the covers of drum'n'bass compilations."

Really ?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Allan Beswick on Blogs

Robin tipped me off that via his new BBC blog covering Manchester bloggers Radio Manchester had been in touch to try and get hold of celebrated blogger; Craig McGinty. The interview with presenter Allan Beswick was yesterday afternoon. Craig has posted the audio on his site. Its a fairly standard how do we trust/what is blogging type interview but it was the opening gambit from the celebrated Beswick that made me laugh.
"How do you turn blogging into a job. It's just writing rubbish.. innit ?"

Andy Griffee and BBC storytelling

There's a long piece in the BBC's internal magazine; Ariel this week by Andy Griffee (the BBC's Controller, English Regions). In the week of the (staff only) BBC's storytelling festival he poses 5 questions facing "broadcasting gatekeepers" such as the BBC and arguing that "we must find ways to ride the (internet/digital) wave or risk wipe out"
  • How do we use a quarter of a million hours of local radio a year to harvest the potential of 8m listeners' stories ?
  • How do we deploy the cheap technology to enable to shape these stories in the quiet thoughtfulness of their own homes ?
  • How do we graft such content into our conventional television output with its godlike authorial figures and their velvet voices ?
  • How do we use the anarchy of the internet and the power of the BBC online brand to seek and use these stories ?
  • And what do we do to make such powerful stories cut through and get noticed amid the multimedia babel and almost limitless demand for our audiences time ?
He concludes by arguing that the professional storytellers of the BBC will also need "to raise their game" if their stories continue to be sought out and valued. Also in the piece is a quote I'd not seen before from Jeremy Vine when he authored a diary for The Spectator back in May essentially endorsing Dan Gilmour's mantra; "they know more than us".
I realise now and I should have realised it before that listeners have better stories than we do For years, newsreaders have 'pranced about' as if they know more than the people watching; as if it were their job to know everything. But the image of the all-knowing newscaster has been ripped to shreds by the sheer volume of information which is now moving around unmediated.

The best approach we can take in response is to say, 'Let's try to work out what's going on together.' It would be an appalling con for me and three bleary-eyed producers to walk into our office at 6.30 a. m. on a Wednesday imagining that we know more than our five million listeners. So we pool information rather than hand it down. Bring on the 'mission to explore'.