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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.

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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

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Is this “against pretty much every journalistic principle”? Should it be?

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Last month, Mohamed Nanabhay of Al Jazeera asked what would be the most important things to include if one was building a news website from scratch. It kicked off a great conversation, largely via Twitter. I think it’s a question that more people are asking as we are open to more radical ideas to support journalism as the print business model comes under increasing pressure.

I collected some of the responses and added some of my own, but I wanted to flag up this response from Mads Kristensen in Denmark. He recast the question in terms not of building a news site but rather a media site “since the news business is so over-commoditized by now that it’s arguable if there’s any strategic advantage in looking just at news”. Some journalists might wince at that statement, but there is a lot of truth in it. We really need to ask some hard questions about what is our unique selling point. What information, analysis or entertainment are we providing that one else does?

Mads asks a question that is increasingly on my mind:

So to my mind this is more an idea of how to redefine media as such without the legacy of the old media companies. So what would I do?

I really am beginning to think that the ideas that will redefine media, news and information in a digital age will not come from legacy companies. They are in the awkward position of trying to build a new business to support the old, and I increasingly think that two motivations are mutually exclusive.

Mars’ vision is very customer oriented, which is not a view that one would hear in most news rooms. The question is what do our readers want to read or viewers want to see but rather what do we think they need to read an see. Mars believes:

Yes, I would act a lot more according to the stated needs of the community rather to what I myself would find important. I realize that’s against pretty much every journalistic principle in the book, but ultimately I think that’s one of the reasons why media companies struggle to stay relevant. And at the end of the day I would rather stay relevant and in business.

It’s sad to think that it would be considered against ‘every journalistic principle in the book’ to think this way. Every time I express that view, I’m accused of wanting to pander to the audience. I beg to differ. Journalists who don’t know want their communities want are both out of touch and these days soon to find themselves out of a job, and only a journalist in touch with their community knows what they really need to know.

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One Response to “Is this “against pretty much every journalistic principle”? Should it be?”

  1. Mads Kristensen Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for commenting on my post. It’s interesting to see your perspective and the acknowledgement that this is really a hard issue media needs to ponder and not be affraid to think about.

    I just wanted to add that I say what I say from a journalistic background. I am one myself, originally at least. I have however chosen to try to contribute a future model for media instead of sitting back and complain about things that just to be trying to turn back time in the process.

    Thanks again,

    Mads