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About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

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Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

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Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Friday, March 24th, 2006

‘Can the MSM afford to ignore blogging?’

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Well, that was the title given to my presentation. I’ve got some catching up with respect to posting.

The quick upsum of my presentation is that most MSM (mainstream media) blogging efforts suck. We’re guilty of engaging in thoughtless herd-like activity.

We flocked to blog because a lot of people were. We thought it was just about publishing snarky little commentary in reverse chronological order.

Bob Cauthorn over at Rebuilding Media had a great post on this last year: Memo to mainstream media: You don’t get to blog.

I play this great clip from the Daily Show taking the piss out of CNN and MSNBC jumping on the blogwagon.

Cory Bergman of Lost Remote looked beyond the humour and gives some excellent suggestions of what the MSM should be doing with blogs. (Scroll down to the ‘See why blogs make bad TV’. The direct link doesn’t work.

But what Cory says:

Putting a blogger on the air or even adding an anchor blog on the web is just scratching the surface, and in some cases, counterproductive. The real goal is institutionalizing the blogging philosophy throughout the news organization, and that may not even involve a blog. How can we open up? Be more accountable?

My view is that the challenge and opportunities for the MSM are much more cultural than technical when it comes to either blogging ourselves or engaging with bloggers.

From a technical standpoint, blogs are just simple, light and powerful content management systems with an emphasis on cross linking and the ability to comment.

And there is absolutely no compelling reason for a journalist to put their content in a blog format just to put their content in a blog format. Why would we chop up content we already produce and put it in reverse chronological order?

There are compelling reasons for journalists (not the citizen variety but us old school sorts) to use blogs: 1) Open up and have a conversation with our audience 2) reinvigorate the immediacy of our journalism.

The programme that I work for, World Have Your Say, on the BBC World Service just launched a blog on Wednesday.

We did it because we are trying to be a new kind of radio programme, not just a call in, but an interactive radio programme where our debates are inspired by the conversations our global audiences are having about news and current affairs, then start online and grow on air.

It’s not just about us using a blog to push more content at our audiences but to engage in a conversation with our audiences.

And I really think that blogs could be used for radically fresh and live reporting. But we in the MSM, by and large, aren’t doing it.

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4 Responses to “‘Can the MSM afford to ignore blogging?’”

  1. Tuija Aalto Says:

    I plead quilty of having lured some professional journalists to try out writing a blog at YLE the Finnish Broadcasting Company website. But I couldn’t agree with you more that more important than trying to mimic the indiebloggers out there, is to have a personal web presence - all over the web. The mainstream media journalists could visit blogs and comment in them more often. Time to revamp the media diet - perhaps drop a few tabloids and include more blogs?

  2. Tuhat sanaa Says:

    BBC World Have your say

    The mainstream media cannot afford to ignore blogging, says Kevin Anderson, producer of the highly interactive World Have Your Say program.
    The BBC World wants to enable the global online discussion, Anderson told fellow public broadcasters at the EBU Mu

  3. Gary Bourgeault Says:

    You’re right about the conversation aspect of blogs, which means that it can no longer just be about an individual feeding the public what they think about something.

    You also say “Why would we chop up content we already produce and put it in reverse chronological order?”

    I understand why you say that, but I do have one answer: Because there are millions reading blogs that won’t read the other publication writing you do, but may come across your blog and begin a conversation from there.

  4. Helen, web design manager Says:

    Blog conversationi s really an important issue. But very often it’s just a conversation of not aware of the topic readers.