Monday, March 06, 2006

The Guardian's Comment is Free project

Having assembled some 200 contributors, it will be interesting to see how the Guardian's Comment is Free project pans out.

A article quoted the Guardian's editor-in-chief, Emily Bell as saying,
"There is no reason why a traditional journalist would take notice of the web,
she said, but that she'd be doing a disservice to the newspaper's columnists if
she didn't show them why their major competition is now online. One of the
strongest resources of a journalistic brand is its commentators."

It will be curious to see which columists embrace blogging as a new way to engage with their readers. As the article points out, there is still prestige associated with being published in a newspaper - but increasingly their audiences are moving online. In the same way that PR professionals who don't embrace blogging will be left behind, journalists could possibly face the same fate.

And newspapers face similar challenges. If indeed one of the strongest resources of a journalistic brand is its commentators, newspapers must tread the very fine line between giving valued content away for free (ie, via their commentators on blogs) and deriving revenue from that content either via premium subscription services or advertising.


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