This morning I came across a wonderful speech (from the Edinburgh International Television Festival) by Robert Peston, one of the best blogging journalists at the BBC where I headed up the Blogs Network during the trial and immediate post-trial phase. In his speech, Peston discusses a range of topics, including thoughts on why it was in the public's interest to report on the fragility of Britain's banks, a move some have suggested helped lead to the credit crunch, before providing some valuable insights into his feelings about the increasingly important role of his blog. Peston said:
"For me, the blog is at the core of everything I do, it is the
bedrock of my output. The discipline of doing it shapes my thoughts. It
disseminates to a wider world the stories and themes that I think
matter. But it also spreads the word within the BBC – which is no
coincidence, because it started life as an internal email for editors
and staff. It gives me unlimited space to publish the kind of detail on
an important story that I can't get into a three minute two-way on
Today or a two-minutes-forty-seconds package on the Ten O'Clock News.
It connects me to the audience in a very important way. The comments
left by readers contain useful insights – and they help me understand
what really matters to people. That is not to say that I give them only
what they want. I retain an old-fashioned view that in the end the
licence fee pays for my putative skills in making judgements about what
matters. Most important of all, the blog allows me and the BBC to own a
big story and create a community of interested people around it.
Sharing information – some of it hugely important, some of it less so –
with a big and interested audience delivers that ownership and creates
that committed community.
Now because of my own indifference to how I communicate a story,
whether by video, audio or in writing, I regard the competition as the
Telegraph, the Times, the FT, and so on, just as much Sky and ITN. And
what's more for much of my output the competition is not just from
UK-based organisations with UK audiences. The Wall Street Journal, CNN,
the New York Times and the Washington Post are very much direct rivals.
Where audiences get business news
Also, it is increasingly clear that much of the audience doesn't
care whether they receive their information via the blog, some other
internet channel, the TV, newspapers or radio. We did a survey in
February of where British people get their information about the
economy. 84% still turn to television first, but 53% used the internet,
as opposed to 52% who go to a newspaper, and 37% radio. For young
people in the ABC1 category, 61% turned first to the internet –
although even for this group TV was out in front with 74%. The point is
that in national and international news, convergence has in a very
fundamental sense already happened for TV, radio and newspapers. We all
do video, audio and the written word…"
Peston's Blog is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/