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Five tests to avoid blog failure

The best thing that can be said about The Independent’s entry into newspaper blogging is that they are wasting very little time on it. Martin Stabe took a look just after Christmas and reached the conclusion that the paper’s “cringeworthy effort at blogging” needed sorting out. He was almost too kind.

You might have expected someone in Marsh Wall would have noticed his comments and made at least some effort to add a few posts. But no. The latest post, in the comedy section, is dated December 21 and promises a round-up of Christmas gigs after December 25. It tells us a review of Ricky Gervais is on the main site and, then, fails to give a link to it.

If this was some sort of subversive blogging joke it might be ok, but it is not. The home page of each blog has a blurb proclaiming that the paper is, “Proudly Independent by name and nature…”

It is particularly sick at the top of the Sony Technology Blog which would look as if the content was dictated by the sponsor were it better written. Each post has the same intro: “Welcome to Sony’s technology blog – the best way to keep up with the fast-paced developments in the digital age.”

I can only hope that the most recent post, on December 18, is accurate and it is the “third and last posting”. That would be merciful. The Environment blog has not been updated since they asked readers, on November 3, what they should be covering.

Maybe the editors took a look at the comments which centred on whether global warming was written in the bible and decided enough was enough.

All this brings me my five tests for a newspaper blog:

  1. Does it do anything which cannot better be done in another section of the site?
  2. Does it develop the paper’s interaction with the readers?
  3. Does it gain a valuable audience? (A particular niche, readers who are new to the paper etc.)
  4. Can you give the blogger sufficient time to blog successfully?
  5. Have you chosen a writer or writers who have the aptitude to blog successfully?

The tests are far from exhaustive but they should at least help editors to give the topic some thought before launching into anything like The Independent’s blog failure.

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  1. Newspaper blogs: How not to do them » mathewingram.com/media says

    […] a previous post, Andrew notes that “the best thing that can be said about The Independent’s entry into […]

  2. mathewingram.com/media says

    Newspaper blogs: How not to do them…

    Sometimes in order to find out what works, it’s useful to look at what doesn’t work. So where might we look to find examples of what not to do when it comes to newspaper blogs? Andrew Grant-Adamson suggests that looking at the Independent i…

  3. BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Blogging behind gauze says

    […] : Meanwhile, the Guardian and others are delighting in making fun of the pathetic blogging effort of the oddly fuddy-duddyist newspaper in the UK, the Independent. Says Roy Greenslade: Day after day nothing appears on its blog and the single entry this year turns out to be an updated posting of no consequence. For a paper that likes to be known as a viewspaper it seems rather short of views – or news, or anything at all – on its blog. […]

  4. Greenslade says

    […] I’ve been following with growing amusement the way in which Andrew Grant-Adamson has been teasing The Independent about its pathetic excursion into blogging. As both Grant-Adamson and Martin Stabe were quick to note, the Indy’s promise hasn’t been matched by performance. Day after day nothing appears on its blog and the single entry this year turns out to be an updated posting of no consequence. For a paper that likes to be known as a viewspaper it seems rather short of views – or news, or anything at all – on its blog. (Via Wordblog) Permalink | 0 comment(s) […]

  5. Martin Stabe » Why (some) old media orgs struggle with blogs says

    […] Alan Morrison has a great post that neatly summarises the common strand underlying the things Andrew Grant-Adamson (repeatedly) Kevin Anderson, Paul Bradshaw and I (not to mention loads of other people) have been saying over the past few months about established media’s sometimes clumsy efforts at tacking social media “stuff” onto their existing publishing business: [D]on’t just bolt blogging or video onto your existing publishing model, because if you do you’re missing half of the point: contributing to these new media is a lot about having a conversation with their readers, NOT just megaphoning down to them, as per the traditional model. […]

  6. Kristine Lowe: Newspaper blogs – success and failure says

    […] And, from Andrew Grant-Adamson, these five useful tests to measure the value of setting up a newspaper blog: 1. Does it do anything which cannot better be done in another section of the site? 2. Does it develop the paper’s interaction with the readers? 3. Does it gain a valuable audience? (A particular niche, readers who are new to the paper etc.) 4. Can you give the blogger sufficient time to blog successfully? 4. Have you chosen a writer or writers who have the aptitude to blog successfully? […]

  7. Wordblog » Blog Archive » Blog post drought at Independent continues 2 says

    […] Five tests to avoid blog failure […]

  8. Andy Dickinson.net » Blog Archive » 5 tests for newspaper blogs says

    […] Andrew Grant-Adamson has 5 tests for a newspaper blog […]

  9. Martin Stabe » Five tests for newspaper blogs says

    […] Andrew Grant-Adamson thinks my assessment of the Independent’s half-hearted blogging effort was “almost too kind” and neatly summarises the long-running debate about the purpose of mainstream news sites’ blogs into five tests for newspaper blogs to help editors avoid similarly poor results. […]

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

    peas at 7:40, we discuss the criticisms that clued-up journalist Martin Stabe had of the Indy’s efforts. And just to highlight a great blog post, I’ll mention the questions that Andrew Grant-Adamson thinks editors should ask: 1. Does it do anything which cannot better be done in another section of the site? 2. Does it develop the paper’s interaction with the readers? 3. Does it gain a valuable audience? (A particular niche, readers who are new to the paper etc)

  11. Médiablog says

    lelkes bloggert,  kötelező feladatnak kiosztották valakiknek a blogok írását. Az eredmény: Kellemetlen, távolságtartó hangnem, ritka frissülés, nagyon kevés hozzászólás, a kevésnél is kevesebb külső hivatkozás. Teljes kudarc. Andrew Grant-Adamson szerint nem ördöngősség a dolog.  Egy „blog-rovat” indítása előtt csak a következő kérdéseket kell feltenni: 1.  Ad az egész valami olyat a lapnak, amit már rovatokban ne lehetne megcsinálni:?

  12. My Life as a Rabid Blog says

    Five Tests for Your Blog

  13. Planet Intertwingly says

    peas at 7:40, we discuss the criticisms that clued-up journalist Martin Stabe had of the Indy’s efforts. And just to highlight a great blog post, I’ll mention the questions that Andrew Grant-Adamson thinks editors should ask: 1. Does it do anything which cannot better be done in another section of the site? 2. Does it develop the paper’s interaction with the readers? 3. Does it gain a valuable audience? (A particular niche, readers who are new to the paper etc)

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

    After a brief description about mushy pees at 7:40, we discuss the criticisms that clued-up journalist Martin Stabe had of the Indy’s efforts. And just to highlight a great blog post, I’ll mention the questions that Andrew Grant-Adamson thinks editors should ask: 1. Does it do anything which cannot better be done in another section of the site? 2. Does it develop the paper’s interaction with the readers? 3. Does it gain a valuable audience? (A particular niche, readers who are new to the paper etc)

  15. Media Matters says

    In today’s piece (also published in Press Gazette as well as his own blog) Martin Stabe passes on journalism lecturer Andrew Grant-Adamson’s five tips for editors on how to avoid having a disastrous blog launch – http://www.wordblog.co.uk/2007/01/02/five-tests-to-avoid-blog-failure/ The reason Martin did so was that he’d been rather critical of the blogs recently created by The Independent. Point 2 mirrors the main thrust of Kevin Anderson’s piece in Press Gazette on Sep 29 2006 and Paul Bradshaw’s similar opinion piece

  16. Jobs in journalism, news and resources for journalists says

    Best of the rest • Washington Post aims for closer print and web ties • Ethics of database journalism • Five tests to avoid blog failure • Kevin Anderson: Why can’t I be passionate about journo and tech? • McClatchy buys citizen journo sites • CAR: drive carefully • Hussein hanging: ethics • Five tests for newspaper blogs •