Blogging Darwinism grips regional media

Liverpool’s Daily Post is using a host of online tools to give it’s readers the chance to watch and offer input into the paper’s editorial process the day before publication.

CoverIT Live technology will allow The Post to run a live blog throughout the working day. From 7am until the presses roll the next morning details of editorial developments are recorded and available to readers. Editor Mark Thomas and deputy editor Alison Gow as well as editors from the news, business and features department will all be contributing throughout the day.

Bambuser and Oik technologies will allow journalists to stream content from news and features meetings, along with any interviews they’re doing, to mobile. The ultra blog will allow real time coverage without the need for repeatedly refreshing a web page.

For The Post’s editor Mark Thomas the live blog is merely the next logical step for the paper:

"I'm sure a lot of people will be surprised at the decision to make our next day's stories public before they are published, but our readers are intelligent, questioning people. We want to take this a stage further and invite people to get involved in the production of their newspaper. Giving them the opportunity to comment via a live blog and streaming, and to actually 'attend'our news conference”

The Post’s move is a good example of the stance newspapers should be taking. Such a blurring of the line between reader and writer takes the image of the hack frantically typing on the keyboard out of the news room and firmly places it in the public domain. Surely any attempt to address the consumers of your product in a direct way is a positive thing?

Newsweek has previously used the CoverIT technology periodically for entertainment and political reporting and has gone on to receive rave reviews from it. These days, it seems at least, if newspapers are to continue and be profitable, blogs have to be the priority.

For many newspapers the opportunity that open access offers is maximized by creating seperate community sites within the website. Scotland’s Evening Times, for one, has focused portals on specific postal districts. Members of the community contribute regulary on subjects that are important to them. Rich content is produced that, otherwise, wouldn’t have made it to the main paper. Treating print and digital with the same value has strengthened the brand overall.

In his book Flat Earth News, Nick Davies, former journalist and reporter of the year, exposed the shocking truth about the state of journalism today. A state that sees the majority of journalists rehashing old stories, cutting and pasting from sources like newswire, instead of chasing genuine leads.

There was never a time when news media was perfect but perhaps the open access and downright optimism that The Post, The Evening Times and many more publications offer with specific content and reader contributions, are just what journalism needs.