Thursday, February 09, 2006

UK - Media recognition for blogs

The US could learn a lot about how to interact with bloggers from the UK media.

Last week Gerard Baker of the Times (UK) had this to say.

The only defence I can offer is this. Blogging has simply become an essential component of modern public dialogue. Not to blog is to leave oneself outside that ever-broadening conversation.

Five years ago I didn't know what a blog was. Today, I hesitate to admit it but I probably spend more hours in a day reading blogs than doing any other single activity. And, though some readers of my regular columns in The Times (Tuesdays on economics and finance, Fridays on everything else) might choke on hearing me say this, I've become better informed for it. I've never written anything in my life that could not have been improved by having had more pairs of eyes on it. Blogs provide the best means technology has yet devised to maximise that scrutiny.

And it may sound impossibly idealistic, and just a bit pompous, but the broader the circle of debate the better all of our thinking will become, which I submit, is a good thing.

Today, Paul Reynolds of the BBC, whom I regularly "correct", echos those sentiments.

For many in the "mainstream media", as bloggers call us, weblogs are at best a nuisance and at worst dangerous.

They are seen as the rantings and ravings either of the unbalanced or the tedious.

My experience over the past few months has led me to an opposite conclusion.

I regard the blogosphere as a source of criticism that must be listened to and as a source of information that can be used.

The mainstream media (MSM in the jargon) has to sit up and take notice and develop some policies to meet this challenge.

I'll give Paul credit, he has done exactly that. In comments and emails between myself, Paul and the blogs mentioned in Paul's article, he has changed some of his reporting. Gone (hopefully) are the stealth edits, replaced with "updates" so readers are aware of the changing story - at least in his articles. Inclusion of new information as it becomes available - refreshing. Admissions of mistakes and faulty information corrected - very refreshing.

There are a few things I could quibble with Paul on this article. But it so refreshing - have I said that? -, so encouraging to see that some in the media get it. Blogs are a valuable tool that should be used so that we all benefit.

For a change Paul, thank you. And thanks for mentioning my blog in your article.

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