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What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?

For the lack of anything other to do on a wet Sunday afternoon — we were planning on lunch in Southwold but decided it was too cold and windy — I have started compiling the newspaper blog index. So far the data is just the numbers of blogs but I will develop it into a proper index by dividing the salary of the editor by the number of blogs, or something like that when another dull Sunday comes along.

The raw figures gathered this afternoon are Times 40, Telegraph 32, Guardian 12, Sun 10, Mail 5, Mirror and Independent none that I could find. The Independent should get a negative score of putting its site map behind its Portfolio barrier and demanding £1 before I could see it.

One can almost hear some editors shouting: “We need more of these blog things. Everyone has them my daughter tells me.” They have become one of the outward signs that the paper is up with the trends in journalism.

William Rees-Mogg at The Times likes to use questions as his headlines. He explained this on June 7 when he wrote: “I find the value of blogs is that they allow me to ask questions to which I genuinely do not know the answer.” On July 26 his question was: “A hung parliament in 2009?” Sorry, Lord Rees-Mogg even in the blogosphere none of us can help you with that.

Over at the Telegraph (list of 40 blogs) Natasha Cowan, one of four fashion bloggers, writes: “I’m not sure why, but I have got a niggling problem with the way the trend for leggings is being worn at the moment, and after discussing it with others it seems as though I am not the only one.”

More interestingly, at the Sun Louise Compton, the Girl with the Backpack, has discovered biodegradable knickers. I am not sure if this is really a blog as comments don’t seem to be accepted but the idea of reader-directed travel looks interesting.

At the Mail Peter Hitchens seems to take his blogging seriously. But a blog by an opinion columnist always makes you wonder whether you are reading the bits that were not good enough to get into the paper.

The Guardian’s score of 12 is rather misleading as only two of them have an author’s name as the title. They include readers’ reviews in the travelog blog, and the paper’s podcast feed. Jack Schofield has expanded his weekly computer agony column into a blog leaving Roy Greenslade on the media as the paper’s individual blogging voice.

This afternoon of browsing newspaper blogs leaves me confused. Some of the offerings are very good but too many seem like ways of presenting traditional content in a “look we understand the digital age” way, while others are dumping grounds for copy that would never get into the paper.

What would be really fascinating would be to know the numbers of visitors to the 99 blogs from the five newspapers visited.

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    ]>

  10. What is the Value of Newspaper Blogs? » The Bivings Report says

    […] There is an interesting conversation taking place over in the United Kingdom about the value of newspaper blogs.  Andrew Grant-Adamson, a journalism professor at the University of Westminster, started the debate with this a post asking “What is the Purpose of Newspaper blogs?”  […]

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  13. Charles Arthur says

    Personally, I find our blogs are good for putting out stories or snippets that just won’t work in the context of the section I edit and write for (the Guardian’s Technology section).

    Not all events that journalists come across merit a big (or even small) piece in the paper, yet they can find a readership – not even necessarily when the piece goes onto the blog; don’t forget the long tail of reading.

  14. Ruth Gledhill says

    Again, thank you for all these articles you are doing and have inspired, I think this was the first. ‘What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?’ you ask. Well as befits my job as Times religion correspondent, I don’t see that question as much different to asking what is the purpose of anything. I notice that you wrote this originally on a wet Sunday afternoon when it was too cold to go out for lunch. I am no psychologist, but I can see how on such a grim afternoon in Southwold, life can seem to lack purpose. It can even lack purpose on such afternoons in Kew sometimes. And that, I guess, is the purpose of newspaper blogs. They get us through those rainy afternoons, those meaningless mornings. Whether it is writing them or reading them. You just have to have faith, really, that it is all worthwhile. Now all join in and sing with me: ‘I believe in blog….’ (No I haven’t finally flipped, but it’s the end of a long, long, hard day in Wapping and I am procrastinating writing a fact box for page 3 which I absolutely must get on with now.)

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    […] It has been an interesting two weeks since I counted up the blogs in some British newspapers and asked, “What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?” I counted 99 at five newspapers and wrote: Some of the offerings are very good but too many seem like ways of presenting traditional content in a “look we understand the digital age” way, while others are dumping grounds for copy that would never get into the paper. […]

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  19. mathewingram.com/media » Are newspaper blogs “real” blogs? says

    […] with del.icio.us   |   Email this entry   |   TrackBack URI   |   Digg it   |   Track with co.mments   |     |   Cosmos Click here forcopyright permissions! Copyright 2006 Mathew Ingram […]

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    […] Recently, I questioned the purpose of many newspaper blogs, wondering whether they were the latest must-have accessory for editors. A check through the Technorati rankings, unsatisfactory as they are in some ways, seems to confirm the view that some bring little benefit to their papers. […]

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  22. Neil McIntosh says

    Hello Andrew – not sure *counting* blogs adds much understanding as to *why* newspapers run blogs, but at Guardian Unlimited we see them as a useful way to have a dialogue with readers, and do things with the way we tell stories that we could not otherwise do. It also gets our journalists used to writing in a different way; blogging is, for me, the first form of journalism born from the web.

    As for numbers – we have quite a lot of blogs… certainly more than 12. Comment is free is essentially an aggregator for more than 1000 blogs, although only around 700 are active at the moment. We’re about to launch a lot more in a new subject area, although we always favour group blogs over individual blogs. As our rivals’ efforts show, you quickly run into trouble if you insist that all blogs must be written by one individual.

    Do get in touch if I can tell you more about what we’re doing, and why.

  23. Ben King says

    Begs the question – what is the purpose of TV news programmes’ blogs? Are they better or worse?

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    […] Andrew Grant-Adamson asks what is the purpose of newspaper blogs. Possible answers include: […]

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    […] Counterpoint: Andrew Grant-Adamson questions the purpose of newspaper blogs (via Fleet Street 2.0) in particular for the U.K.'s many papers. "One can almost hear some editors shouting: “We need more of these blog things. Everyone has them my daughter tells me.” They have become one of the outward signs that the paper is up with the trends in journalism." True that, but perhaps he'll see why I recommended it here.  […]

  26. Martin Stabe » links for 2006-10-23 says

    […] Wordblog: What is the purpose of newspaper blogs? Andrew Grant-Adamson provides some examples of newspapers “jumping on the blogwagon”. (tags: newspapers blogs journalism) […]

  27. bojo says

    ’s a brief attempt to run over the ideas I’ve been thinking about lots recently… Act I: Can we stop talking about blogging now, please? Some of it goes a little way back, like the question of why newspapers bother having blogs. My answer: Why does anyone? I’m not going to dictate to a newspaper what a blog should be, just as I don’t dictate whether you write a fictional hookers’ diary or humdrum tales of everyday life or comment on politics. Journalists are going to

  28. Kristine Lowe says

    – at least in the UK (I follow UK and Scandinavian media in-depth, as I’ve got strong ties to both regions, and so far newspaper blogs are more prolific in the the UK). The main question here, which Andrew Grant-Adamson, a former lecturer of mine, posed a while back, is “What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?”, and subsidiary “What are they trying to achieve?” and “Are they achieving it?”. In his first post on the topic, he concluded: “This afternoon of browsing newspaper blogs leaves me confused. Some of the

  29. Media Musings says

    not get off lightly and can’t, apparently, assume that a loyal readership perhaps straddling the length and breadth of the country is justification in itself for airing their views via the medium of the blog. In his Wordblog, Adam Grant-Adamson asks, “What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?”, saying, “A blog by an opinion columnist always makes you wonder whether you are reading the bits that were not good enough to get into the paper.”

  30. Era digital says

    El valor de los blogs de los periódicos Andrew Grant-Adamson, profesor de periodismo de la University of Westminster ha iniciado un debate en el Reino Unido sobre el valor de los blogs que han creado los periódicos y lo que realmente aportan a la comunicación. Analizó en Technorati los ránkings de los blogs de dos de los principales peri

  31. Brad's Blog says

    Andrew Grant Adamson

  32. Strange Attractor: Picking out patterns in the chaos says

    blogging as a content-management system that allows comments. If that’s your goal, just adapt your content-management system to accept comments. Recently, Shane Richmond of the Telegraph wrote: What is the point of newspaper blogs? in response to Andrew Grant-Adamson’s post, which questioned whether newspapers were blogging simply to get snaps from the kids (Bob Cauthorn was a little more adamant that newspapers needed to get a clue and stop blogging, which I disagree with). Andrew wondered if blogs were just content that

  33. Richard Burton says

    If I had any doubts about the power of the pen in a blogger’s hands, it disappeared when Andrew Grant Adamson questioned the purpose of blogs in national newspapers. His Wordblog entry certainly touched a nerve at the Telegraph who lined up a defensive wall of their finest online columnists with the online news editor Shane Richmond in goal behind them. Why? It may have had something to do with the fact that

  34. nem Pop, nem Cult says

    Qual é o propósito do blog de um jornal? Esta é a pergunta que o professor de jornalismo Andrew Grant-Adamson, da Universidade de Westminster de Londres, faz em sua pesquisa sobre a importância dos blogs em grandes jornais. [IMG ]A pesquisa de Andrew engloba cinco jornais de língua inglesa: Times, Telegraph, Sun, Daily Mail e Guardian. Sobre a pesquisa, Shane Richmond, do blog de Tecnologia do Telegraph, escreve um

  35. Online Journalism Blog says

    What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?). He identifies five key reasons for creating newspaper blogs: Niche publishing Unlimited spaceExperimentationInteractivityPersonalityOr, to quote at length: “First of all, blogs are niche offerings. Everything in the print edition of the paper has to

  36. Telegraph Blogs: Technology: Shane Richmond says

    analysis

  37. travel4you says

    analysis

  38. Médiablog says

    csomagolásban eladni. A médiában megjelenő blogokban felbukkan számosolyan gyenge szöveg is, aminek soha nem lenne esélye nyomtatásban megjelennie. Nem állítom, hogy Andrew Grant-Adamson a brit online lapokban megjelenő blogtermésről írt áttekintése nagyon meglepett volna. Inkább csak azért említem meg, mert az online lapok itt leírt blogos nyomulása még előttünk van. Az Internet Hungary előadásaiból, vitáiból egyértelműen kiderült, hogy a blogok mára elérték  a hazai

  39. One Man & His Blog says

    by Andrew Rilstone. I spend hours telling people that blog posts should be short and frequent, and then Andrew goes and demonstrates that the opposite works too. Bah. And, indeed, humbug. Wordblog takes a look at UK national newspaper blogs, and finds them wanting. He’s right in that there are some gems and clunkers out there, but how is that different from any other group of blogs you care to name? Perhaps the point is that, as they’re written by professional journalists, the average

  40. cybersoc.com says

    What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?

  41. SacredFacts says

    Wordblog » Blog Archive » What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?

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    • What is the purpose of newspaper blogs? newspapersites hitchensblog newspaper blogs [IMG] For the lack of anything other to do on a wet Sunday afternoon — we were planning on lunch in Southwold but decided it was too cold and windy — I have started compiling the newspaper blog index. So far the data is just the numbers of blogs but I

  43. Fleet Street 2.0 says

    Wordblog: What is the purpose of newspaper blogs?