The Independent, of all our national newspapers, had a reputation for terrible, half-hearted blogging, and has done for years. It was quite a surprise, then, to see that it’s entered into partnership with blog-as-social-network site Livejournal to relaunch its blogs. Now, I’ve been an LJ user since 2001 – it’s where my very first blog lives – and I’ve always thought of it more as a communication tool than a publishing platform, but it clearly has aspirations elsewhere, as the news post describes the partnership as their “first attempt to engage on the ground in the UK” – which I’ll try not to be offended by…
Jimmy Leach, the paper’s editorial director for digital, has posted about the launch, in a way that suggests they see the site as something akin to The Telegraph‘s My Telegraph:
But this is mere tinkering to the major new aspect of the Independent
Minds – and that’s that you too can become bloggers on this site. Just register (with
LiveJournal who are providing the back-end to all this) and you can add
your voice to the others on this site and share your thoughts with the
huge and growing audience the site has. You do have to register, I’m
afraid – some may find it a pain, but its mean’t to be a community, not
The one time I really struggle with blogging is when I’ve stopped doing it for a bit. A few weeks ago, I took a week off. And I ended up almost completely disconnecting from social media for that week. I used my computer to play games, but that was about it. I switched off from the web, from feeds, from Twitter, from the works.
Obviously, I walked back into the office to face a vast, vast pile of work – the curse of being a one man team, with no-one to delegate to. And so it took me a few days to get on top of that, and start thinking about blogging again. And then I started struggling. I have this urge that, if I haven’t posted for a while, I need to restart with something significant. That, of course, is nonsense. If you think about the idea of blog as conversation, if you haven’t talked to somebody for a while, you don’t put off meeting them for a drink, or giving them a call, just because you have nothing of huge significance to impart. No, just just give them a ring, say hello, and start discussing the first things that come into your minds.
And that’s exactly what this is. The first thing in my mind. And hopefully it’ll break my bloggers’ blog…
In a meeting earlier, I made a throw-away remark about the publishing news being so bad between now and next spring that all our journalists will be scared stiff. I was joking. But judging by the news coming in (hat tip to Heidi from Computer Weekly for these), magazine after magazine is going away.
In the context of this, the offer Six Apart (which is going through its own rough patch) made to out-on-their-ear journos looks like a smarter move than people gave them credit for. If you’re sitting on a redundancy payment, in a market where no-one’s hiring, a free blog with a little bit of income might just be the right way to reskill..
What I hadn’t
fully expected was how gripping the stories from individual journalists
have been. The mood of the emails we’ve gotten has ranged from hopeful
to heartbreaking, from cynical to sincere. Overall, there’s an optimism
which indicates that having a starting point to do something proactive
and positive will be a great first step for many journalists to take
control of their careers in an industry that is going through enormous
Sometimes, the most horrible change can be a step in the right direction.
Bit frantic at the moment – been off for a week, and returned to a pile of work. But today I’ve discovered to my delight that two old friends from my days on Felix, Imperial College’s student rag, are blogging.