There’s been a lot of discussion in BBC News Interactive about how blogging might or might not be beneficial to the organisation. It’s an interesting debate, especially as a blog can be so many different things on a technical, editorial, social level etc.
A lot of editorial people are (perhaps rightly) questioning why the BBC would want to write a story and then say “and here’s what a bunch of bloggers think” (like Stef’s Wikiproxy does on the right-hand-side of the story).
Clearly, a lot of people are thinking about the “generic”/high-level blogs (in this case, news commentary blogs). I guess that’s where editorial folk question the relevancy. And perhaps rightly so – the BBC is a trusted source, linking through to blogs may produce negative issues with respect to impartiality and bias rather than foster benefits around story validity.
However, the massive benefit and opportunity for the BBC News Website, and mainstream media in general, are the “vertical market”, niche bloggers. It’s the guy running an established blog on a single topic that is directly relevant to the article you are just happen to be writing about today.
An example of this (and I give only because it’s close to my heart and therefore immediate to mind) is my father’s blog. My father is currently receiving treatment for Hepatitis C, and he’s blogging his experience. He is also a leading advocates for Hepatitis C awareness and treatment in the UK and one of the NHS’s “public faces” of HepC treatment. If the BBC was writing an article about Hepatitis C, it would be immensely valuable to it’s readership to incorporate or link through to his blog because he can provide information at a level the BBC never could. And when the story finishes, and the BBC moves onto to tomorrow’s news agenda, he’s still there adding to his blog and continuing to further inform those who have come to the blog via the news story.
Now, the above bit about my father is “just setting the scene” as an example. The point is, if a “Big Media Company” is writing about practically any topic (social, medical, technical, entertainment, anything) there is probably a blogger out there writing a blog just about that very subject.
It’s about blogs that can provide the detail mass media can?t, and continue to inform those who are interested in the story once they’ve moved on to the next one?