Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blogging and Journalism

The wonderful thing about this land of blog is the passing on of ideas and the sharing of opinion. The links I've provided to the other blogs aren't here because I've joined a clique, far from it, they're the blogs I visit from time to time and come from people with whom I share interests. I still haven't found a Blackburn Rovers blogger, anyone out there?

On the downside, I do think many blogs are full of self regarding, irrelevant nonsense. A gobshites paradise. I've heard some crap about how blogging will sweep away journalism. But someone has to sharpen a pencil, ask questions and know where to look for facts and opinions that aren't obvious or apparent.

I got into all of this because I want to see where it's all going from the inside; how people relate to what goes on here and why they come to the site. I'm a journalist and have made a living all of my working life from selling the words I write and the way in which they are presented. I value and respect good journalism above all else. It is such a powerful force for good and it is so important to a healthy functioning community. Be that a local community, within a business community. Blogging, I reckoned, was of a different order.

I didn't think, for instance, that tapping out a few opinions on my laptop at the weekend would in any way have an impact like some of the journalism we produce. Yet my comments about the new bridge from Piccadilly to our part of town have resulted in it being closed down until the scaffolding has been taken down and the pathway completed. It was one of those stories that as a journalist you literally stumble across from time to time and wonder why no-one else has noticed. The blog gives me the ability to talk instantly about the subject. My monthly magazine gives me the chance to debate the issue and present the balanced picture. That's a luxury many others don't have, but it's starting to help me understand how the existing media can subtly embrace blogging.

It's also drawn attention to two local stories in the last week that contained a mixture of good old fashioned digging and community campaigning, with some strident opinionating. Hat tip therefore to the following:

Manchizzle for drawing attention to the Salford Star and its sterling work on the Lowry Centre and Urban Splash and for some harsh words about the dreadful Moving Manchester magazine.
The Manchester City Supporters Trust, who followed up our exclusive on their imminent launch, and fair play to Chris Bailey at the Manchester Evening News for following it up in such a fair, detailed and honest way.

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