3 presentations, 1 basic outline – your input useful

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks mulling over three presentations I’ll be giving over the next two weeks:

09/10 May: Karlstads Universitet in Sweden – I’ll be giving a 45 minute presentation at Medborgarmedier (flyer pdf) as part of a series of annual seminars funded by Ann-Marie och Gustaf Anders foundation for media research, and coordinated by the department for Media and Communication Studies at the University of Karlstad.

14 May: An internal BBC presentation at “The Future of News”, part of the Inside the Business of Media Conference Series. Through a strange fluke of scheduling, my presentation has been slotted in between Steve Hermann (Editor of BBC News Online) and Helen Boaden (the BBC’s Director of News).

15 May: I’ll be co-presenting, with BBC Manchester’s Richard Fair, at The Journalism Leaders Forum at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. Later in the evening, I’ll also be taking part in a panel debate. Both the presentation and debate will be webcast.

I’ve got the rest of today, as well as tomorrow and some time on Tuesday, to put the presentations together. Thankfully, I think all three presentations could follow a similar outline and are for a similar audience – journalism students, journalists, and editors – although their level of exposure and understanding of the stuff formally known as user generated content and/or blogging will range from absolute beginner to established practitioners who could probably give my presentation for me.

Below is an outline of points I’d like to raise, each of which will be padded out with some screenshots, quotes, etc wherever possible (which is part of the reason I’m blogging this – I could use some good links from you!):

1. What’s a blog?
2. What motivates people to blog – different types of blogs have different motivations behind them [queue my models of blogs: a) personal “web diaries”, b) blog as conduit of information, and c) “the conversation”]
3. Why should journalists and the mainstream media care? [queue: contacts, context, content]
4. Some thoughts on why participation isn’t always “good” – eg. why not just use the build it and they will come approach?
5. Or we could all just give up our jobs and become bloggers…(and why journalism isn’t actually that different to some forms of blogging)
6. Tools and techniques used by bloggers (RSS, technorati, delicious, blogging platforms and devices, etc)
7. How journalists and mainstream media might use those very tools and techniques themselves
8. Other ways the media might help and/or engage with bloggers (and why this makes sense – eg. linking is a two way street, audiences congregate at the niche, etc)

If you are coming to any of these three events I’d love to know what else you might be interested in hearing more about. Also, has anyone spotted any glaring omissions here? Do you know (or have you made) any great posts, visualisations or videos that perfectly illustrate any of the points I’m going to try to make? Any input you might have will be gratefully received and acknowledged.

I’ll post the presentations (which I hope will benefit from a bit of sexing up), as well as links to video where available, as each event happens.


  1. I couldn’t resist…
    Something any online publication has to appreciate is that their audience is no longer at the bottom of the funnel, being drip-fed news and features.
    Thanks to RSS (I accept it’s still early days but its use is growing) people have now flipped the funnel and can vacuum up what interests them and roll their own news service.
    They can stay in touch with what they want, when they want and turn the tap off once happy.
    Publications need to slice their content up so that people can follow sections, make it easy to follow comments via RSS or subscribe to keywords wrapped up in a feed that tells them when something new is published.
    It might not be possible to hit all these marks at the same time but they are worth having on the agenda.

  2. I think there’s some interesting stuff around how bloggers build up personas (personae?). This is particularly prevalent around personal blogs, but appears everywhere. People are very keen to be perceived in the “right way” online (what that right way is varies of course). But personal reputation and representation are strong drivers for why people blog, and continue to do so. Just found this post about it from Nick Carr (in Nov 06): http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/11/selfportrait_in.php
    I talk about this a lot in terms of teenagers & myspace, but it’s just as relevent for news bloggers I think. The drive to be first or maintain a reputation for being controversial/accurate/expert/redressing alleged imbalance/representing a community etc is clearly there.

  3. Maybe that is implied, and will be contained within the above areas, but I would really like to hear about the Manchester blogging project and how you are working with that, how it’s been received by the general public and what you see as your long-term goal with that project. I’m especially intrigued by the workshops and educational focus.
    Also local vs national – how does the use of social media on news sites differ depending on the number of readers and the size of the area to cover?
    Cheers from speaker no. 3 in Karlstad. See you Thursday!

  4. Thanks everyone for the feedback and ideas.
    Craig, I’m very much intending to include RSS in the internal presentation as well as the Journalism Leader’s Forum in Preston (you coming?) but I’m afraid it only gets a brief mention in the Karlstad presentation – there’s just so much to cover!
    Hilary, you’re right about personae. I’m working that one into the latter two presentations as well although, with my models of three types of blogs that I’ll use in Karlstad, I’m bound to touch on it.
    Lotta, thanks for making contact. Based on your comment, I’ve reworked a significant section of the talk I was planning to give. I think for the better. The Manchester Blog model now makes up a good third, if not more, of my material. I was sort of hoping someone would come in and ask about that… See you Thursday!
    Thanks again all – your feedback has been VERY useful!

  5. The questions you are asking are exactly the ones that committed Bloggers are asking themselves.
    I see many benefits of utilising the ‘community’ to gather opinion (just as you are doing here) and also refining your approach by using it as a sounding board for your ideas and thoughts.
    I am finding that this is a massively underused resource in the UK and I’ve been thinking over some potential projects to utilise the technology to promote ‘Active Citizenship’.
    It’s also clear that many bloggers are going through a period of transformation and are looking to develop their blogs into something more by adding forums, merchandising, podcasts, etc. But the ‘holy grail’ here is – what’s the next big thing?
    This site is an excellent resource – many thanks,

  6. Hi Robin!
    Thanks for your presentation yesterday. We really enjoyed it! Hope you got back to London alright!

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