Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

More elitist, self-referential tripe.

Heard recently from Richard Sambrook over at the BBC, who emailed me to share a final draft of a chapter on "Citizen Journalism" he wrote for an upcoming textbook at City University of London.

I got a nice write-up in the chapter, and even got in a nice quote:

“It’s not enough for journalists to create a weblog and hope people will come to them with the big story,”  he says. “ They need to do more to seek out the weblogs of those involved firsthand and to interact with them, and build up a discussion amongst equals. It’s not enough to occasionally monitor a flood of RSS feeds with a newsreader because that does nothing to build either communication or trust.
“What I’ve built up may not be official sources, but I would argue that as sources go they are far better, far closer to firsthand, and generally more detailed and nuanced providing a more meaningful perspective on what is happening.”

... and they're better friends too. (Yes, even the ones who disagree with me.)

More interesting to me, at the end of my reply to him, I made a bit of a joke, asking him when he was going to get a blog,... and well, here it is.
(LiveJournal users can click here to add his syndicated feed to their friends list.)

Frankly, I'm a bit shocked. 

I mean, here's the director of the BBC World Service / Global News, and he has a blog that anyone can leave comments on, unmoderated. He talks to the public, the public can talk back to him, and if they put him on the spot with some very good points, well, everybody knows about it, and he'd presumably feel the need to respond. 

Could you even imagine the public getting that same level of access with any major U.S. media source? Hell... how many reporters can you name who have had their broadcast networks shut down their weblogs? I can think of several.

And yet, it's a distinctly British thing to do, in a way... maybe I shouldn't have been surprised at all. After all, could you imagine President Bush stepping through a minefield of hostile and widely varied questions before Congress every month, like the Prime Minister does in Britain? He simply wouldn't be able to cope with it, and would petulantly walk out after about four or five non-responsive, loudly mocked attempts to pretend like he knew what he was talking about.

The other thing I found pretty amazing is that hardly anyone knows about or comments on Mr. Sambrook's weblog. The same can be said about award-winning journalist Adrian Monck's blog, which I mentioned about a month ago.

Don't the British people know what they're missing here? Others in the world could only wish for such access.

So, when do you suppose Bill O'Reilly will start allowing unmoderated comments on his website? You know... just friendly, ordinary people like you and me, helping him out with some of his factchecking?

 I'd really, really like to know.


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