The journalist, the blog and the map

Posted on November 4, 2009

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So I’ve learnt a few things in the exciting world of online journalism this week. First up, here’s the terribly exciting Google map that I promised to create. It’s very clever – the little balloons show where I took pictures (on a graffiti theme, if you’re interested) and if you click on them, it shows you a picture.

Not that I have any photographic skill whatsoever, but if you do fancy checking out the rest (there are about 60 of them – I couldn’t bring myself to add every single one to the map) then you will find them on my Flickr photostream. There are even some attempts at arty angles.

So, time to stop getting distracted by pretty pictures again. This week we had a visit from Adam Tinworth, who once again hailed the online flag – blog, blog, and blog some more, because otherwise no one will talk to you. And you can’t talk to them.

Mr Tinworth is Head of Blogging for RBI and therefore, of course, could outline the amazing benefits of having a blog – some impressive statistics were thrown our way about how many more people read blogs rather than articles etc. But then he said that blogging should be conversation discussing things of mutual interest, not opinion.

Hang on.

No opinion in blogs? Come on. If there was no opinion in blogs, no one would read them. Why do you think people hang on to Charlie Brooker‘s every word? Because it’s opinion. Because it’s interesting. And that’s why so many people are looking at blogs instead of articles.

So blogs probably aren’t the best place the sound off your opinions about, say, people, on an entirely unfounded basis. It would look pretty unprofessional if I started a rant about someone who might hire me someday. But an informed opinion on news and current affairs is what makes a good blogging journalist, surely? What on earth would be the point in just saying the news again in a different way, with no angle whatsoever?

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