Warning: file_get_contents() [function.file-get-contents]: URL file-access is disabled in the server configuration in /homepages/12/d83843876/htdocs/newlife/wp-content/themes/supernova-pro/lib/functions/supernova-query.php on line 657

Warning: file_get_contents(http://grant-adamson.me.uk/wp-content/themes/supernova-pro/lib/admin/inc/webfonts.json) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /homepages/12/d83843876/htdocs/newlife/wp-content/themes/supernova-pro/lib/functions/supernova-query.php on line 657

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /homepages/12/d83843876/htdocs/newlife/wp-content/themes/supernova-pro/lib/functions/supernova-query.php on line 678
Categories

Wordblog revived

incorporating New Life

What is the purpose of newspaper blogs? reprise

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.

A Telegraph blog I quoted from has disappeared. Three of the papers have responded in one way or another but of them only the Telegraph has produced any of the figures which I said would be “fascinating”. They are.

This revelation came after I had compiled a list of the Techronati rankings of 37 Times blogs. That way I discovered Ruth Gledhill, religion correspondent and the paper’s top blogger, whose quirky Articles of Faith is all you can hope for. Tom Whitwell, online communities editor at The Times, described it in a comment as, “a wonderful phenomenon”.

It was never my intention to suggest that all newspaper blogs were a waste of time, so I was surprised that Shane Richmond, online news editor of telegraph.co.uk, marshalled four contributors to comment under the heading “Bloggers bite back“. A touch sensitive that.

Among their sensible comments, Francisca Kellett, wrote: “You can be more provocative in a blog…” Exactly.

After reading two posts from Shane, I decided to compile a list of Technorati rankings for The Telegraph too. I was not surprised that Shane’s technology discussion was top of the tree — it is excellent and has long been on my news reader.

In his first post he he examined the reasons for newspaper blogs: filling more niches, unlimited by space, experimentation, interactivity and personality. He also included a response to my suggestion that some figures would be fascinating:

Finally, Andrew asks how much traffic these blogs get. In September the blogs got 357,000 page views, almost 12,000 hits per day. We had 34 active bloggers at that time, so that equates to roughly 10,500 hits per blogger.

The site isn’t even a year old yet so traffic is at a decent level. Page views have more than doubled in the last six months I’m confident that we will be able double them again in another six months.

I can only guess at the figures for individuals, but very conservatively if we take Shane out of the mix the average for the rest cannot be more than 8,500 hits a month. That suggests, as do the Technorati rankings, some of them are very low indeed.

I have my doubts about the slow development of blogs. If you are a journalist you need to get eyeballs on pages quickly. I rescued Wordblog from the dead in June because I wanted understand the process from the inside. In the third week it scored 2,633 hits — above the Telegraph average — and has gone on rising. Last month it was just short of 40,000. It is hard work and has to become a routine.

There is no doubt that blogs have become a valuable element in the mix offered by newspapers. They do all the things Shane says they should be doing.

But they are not a simple add on to an existing job. Blogging well takes time. Ruth wrote in a comment:

I spend hours of my own time doing the blog, and sometimes end up working until 2am or 3am, it is such an addictive medium. I really love doing it so don’t resent the time.

Commitment like that is essential. Newspapers need to be selective and think carefully about their policy. Blogs have to be an integral part of the business plan and show that they contribute to the achievement of the plan.

Among the “broadsheets” that blog the Guardian has chosen a different path as Neil McIntosh, head of editorial development at the Guardian, explained in a comment:

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.

That said, Roy Greenslade’s Guardian media blog is well ahead of the top offerings of The Times or The Telegraph in the rankings. I will be taking up Neil’s offer to tell me more about that they are doing and why. Perhaps other online editors would like to add their thoughts?

  • Corrected, Nov 5 at 8pm. Neil McIntosh was given his old job itle. The correct one is now in place.

About

View all posts by

POST A COMMENT


No Responses

  1. Martin Stabe » The Independent’s blogs: must do better says

    […] Remember the debate about the dubious quality of some British national newspaper blogs? It raged back in October and November, centering on Andrew Grant-Adamson’s analysis of the degree of other bloggers’ engagement with the blogs published by the Times and the Telegraph? […]

  2. Sten38488 says

    I haven’t been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can’t be bothered with anything these days.

  3. BBC - Radio Five Live - Pods and Blogs says

    […] Shane Richmond also responded to Adamson-Grant’s research, saying that, as AG amicably summarises, the purpose of the Telegraph’s blogs is about “filling more niches, unlimited by space, experimentation, interactivity and personality.” […]

  4. Weblog - Ruth Gledhill - Times Online: Islam under fire: not surprising given stance on HMD says

    […] And a couple of surveys by technical masters of this medium have shown this blog to be number one in the newspaper blog charts of Britain. (Update: that is just counting The Times and The Telegraph. The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade actually tops the charts.) Is this survival of the fittest? Given that this blog doesn’t even come up on The Times’ own website if you do a search, as my own vicar told me this morning, and given that Technorati also doesn’t link to it and putting it into Google Blog Search only brings up gobbledegooklehptxt, it does seem something of a miracle.  I can only assume it is down to all of you, who keep commenting and linking here. So please do keep up the good and godly work, and let us religionists win the  Dawkins wars for once and for all. […]

  5. Hot Links - Archives says

    […] : music northcarolina via:fimoculous #  copy […]

  6. Web 2.0 Television » More Newspaper Blogs and Porpoises … er, Purposes says

    […] Also, Andrew Grant-Adamson finds that "technology tops the Telegraph blogs", then posts a reprise including this: I have my doubts about the slow development of blogs. If you are a journalist you need to get eyeballs on pages quickly. I rescued Wordblog from the dead in June because I wanted understand the process from the inside. In the third week it scored 2,633 hits — above the Telegraph average — and has gone on rising. Last month it was just short of 40,000. It is hard work and has to become a routine. […]

  7. howardowens.com: media blog » Blog Archive » Newspaper blogs need a reason to be says

    […] Adam Grant-Adamson is tackling the subject of newspaper blogs, and makes this vital point: Newspapers need to be selective and think carefully about their policy. Blogs have to be an integral part of the business plan and show that they contribute to the achievement of the plan. […]

  8. Lunchtime O'Booze says

    I have very great reservations about newspaper blogs. I have a very strong feeling that most of them are little more than reporters’ material that wasn’t good enough for the paper.
    Sure some are well written, amusing etc – well you would hope so given that they are all from full time hacks.
    But most of the Telegraph blogs are frankly awful – the very worst in self-indulgent reporters thinking that they are the story or pretentious navel gazing. The Telegraph’s sightless blundering around in the digital media seems to amount to little more than “didn’t like that one, try this blog instead”. Quantity is no substitute for quality.
    Shane RIchmond’s defence of Telegraph blogging is pretty thin and rather gives the lie to the absence of thought underpinning so much of what they are doing.
    A lot of those at the Times aren’t much better either.
    The problem that they suffer from is that the papers don’t get it. For them a blog is just another column, just with a comment box on the end. These are still tablets of stone handed down to the grateful reader from Mt Sinai.
    Where the Guardian is much more successful is to level the field – and their group blogs (glogs?) are much the richer for it. You get genuine web-like conversation (not a hub and spoke model) and a real response, real interaction.

  9. Kristine Lowe says

    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.” The post caused a wide debate, and culminated with this piece in The Press Gazette, where Andrew concluded: “There is neither the money to throw around nor the time among the often woefully small staff to play with the latest toys. Everything must have a clear purpose if the ‘end

  10. One Man & His Blog says

    The latest Technorati report on the state of the Blogosphere shows growth starting to slow. Intelligent comment at Open. (Linking: saving me from writing every single day…) And here’s some figures on the readership of The Telegraph’s blogs. And it identifies the most popular newspaper blog in the country (not from The Telegraph). Interesting, huh? Technorati Tags: blogging, blogs, journalism, newspaper blogs, newspapers, technorati

  11. ★ pulse ★ [141 items] says

    jimray : Annuals Music: Entrance – Chapel Hill band, worth checking out Tags : music northcarolina via:fimoculous Wordblog » Blog Archive » What is the purpose of newspaper blogs? reprise

  12. Ruth Gledhill says

    instead, the site links to a write-off of Morgan’s story in The Sunday Times. Hilarious. A Mail columnist was telling me the other day how hopeless their online operation is, but I didn’t realise quite how right she was until I saw this. And a couple of surveys by technical masters of this medium have shown this blog to be number one in the newspaper blog charts of Britain. Is this survival of the fittest? Given that this blog doesn’t even come up on The Times’ own website if you do a search, as

  13. cybersoc.com says

    Wordblog: more debate on why newspapers blog

  14. Teaching Online Journalism says

    a thoughtful follow-up