According to Journalism.co.uk, the Guardian has now recruited over 200 columnists and expert contributors for their "comment is free" project. The Guardian’s Emily Bell recently told a conference of the Online Publishers Association that "One of the strongest resources of a journalistic brand is its commentators… The idea of giving commentators individual blogs was slightly worrying for all sorts of reasons, but this will be a collective voice for the kind of people we want to talk to."
The Guardian really should be congratulated on the way they’re embracing interactivity and using audience contributions. Pick up the print edition of the Guardian on Saturday if you have any doubts as to how much the Guardian has moved ahead of it’s competitors in offering it’s readers a chance to produce and contribute content to the paper – from the many mentions of blogs, message boards and chat rooms in articles to it’s News Blog to reader photos in Weekend and the two page travel feature generated entirely by users of the Guardian’s "Been There" website.
Despite the Guardian having one of the lowest print circulations of any national daily in the UK, the Guardian website is the number one newspaper site here. It will be interesting to see if the Guardian is able to translate their online success into higher print circulation and certainly increasing the level of integration between their efforts on the two platforms is an attempt to do exactly that.