The need for editors is greater now in the online age than ever, according to BBC broadcaster and all-round media mogul Andrew Neil.
Speaking at the SIIA Global Information Industry Summit, Neil said the internet had created a world in which the reader is ‘information rich, but quality poor’.
“What we need are trusted gatekeepers to decide what is accurate and what isn’t,” he said, adding that news requires ‘a good old-fashioned editorial process’ and a ‘trusted brand name’.
But this process cannot be replaced by blogs: “I will still enjoy them [blogs] as a form of entertainment or print journalism pornography.”
Neil went on to praise The Spectator’s online offering Coffee House, forgetting to mention that it’s billed as a blog:
Discussing Coffee House, Neil claimed the site attracts 200,000 unique users and 2 million page impressions a month. The site will soon account for 20 per cent of the Spectator’s ‘bottom line’, he added.
Blogs also came under scrutiny from Hugo Dixon, editor-in-chief of BreakingViews.com, who said that in terms of financial news trusted media brands are demanded by readers.
“There are some good things on blogs, but they don’t have the brand consistency of media brands. Brand matters, because financial professionals do not have the time to hunt: they need to no where someone’s coming from, the ethical basis, and does it have good access [to news and information]. I think very few blogs have good access.”
Dixon made a convincing case for the need for quality journalism online and how this can drive subscription-based revenue models and help editorial staff gain access to subjects and clients.
One of the blogs sporting ‘good things’ must be FT’s Alphaville – a site Dixon praised (though he never called it a blog) throughout the opening of his keynote speech, and which won a Webby award this year for the best business blog…