An interesting look at a media “watchdog” blog based in the US – Gannett Blog, run by former Gannett employee Jim Hopkins, is an unrivalled source of information on the newspaper publisher and media group.
Two things are striking about the description of Gannett Blog and Hopkins’ work in this article, firstly the description of working on a specialist subject:
Gannett, with its 80 dailies and 23 TV stations, “is like a small city,” Hopkins says, “and I’m a beat reporter. I can find things going on on a daily basis.”
And secondly, it’s “water cooler”, open comments feature:
An innovation on Gannett Blog, inspired by the fact that comments were getting more pageviews than anything else on the blog, is the open-ended “real-time comments” post that’s always at the top of the page. It simply says, “Can’t find the right spot for your comment? Post it here, in this open forum.” Hopkins refreshes that post once a week; it often garners more than 100 comments – far more than his typical posts do.
Hopkins calls this the “water cooler” – a place to “come and see what other people are thinking about.”