Debates about blogging, political or otherwise, could go on forever. Credit must go to the Telegraph team for getting this one going – it was just starting to get a bit more interesting before time ran out though.
Still, some interesting issues raised, if not too many conclusions.
- Firstly, and this is something raised on this blog before, are journalists who write blogs the same as bloggers?
Iain Dale noted that Mail On Sunday bloggers have to submit their posts to the lawyers first. This was a common experience with one member of the audience, a blogging journalist at Telegraph.co.uk, who said the profit interests of the group’s owner would always impact upon the blogging process in this way.
Lloyd Shepherd pointed out that while legal costs are the only costs not to have gone down in the new digital age, the law is becoming more sensitive to cases where content might not have actually been seen by that many people.
- Iain Dale downplayed the notion of a blogging elite. Yet how come everyone in the room (bar me…) were on first name terms and often didn’t have to introduce their blog first?
Mick Fealty, writer on Northern Irish political blog Slugger O’Toole and the Telegraph’s blog Brassneck, explained that ‘top blog’ lists are not intended to reinforce an elite, but ‘about trying to get people to break out of their daily online habits and go and look at something completely different’.
- There’s a lot of cross-over between ‘traditional’ journalism and blogs (maybe this was because there were a lot of journalists in the room…): in-depth investigative coverage, face-to-face networking and contact making.
Major differences between the two discussed last night were the ability of blogs to talk to people and not at people, and their capacity to democratise. (Not a strong enouch distinction was made for me.)
One Telegraph blogging journalist pointed out that the BNP website receives more hits than all the other political parties’ sites combined – yet when blogging about this he didn’t link to the BNP’s site.
So can blogging democratise political coverage by the media, while the media adheres to an establishment view of politics as a three party system?
Lots of summaries of last night’s event have already been posted – here are a few to get you going (am I perpetuating a blogging elite by just linking to these few?):