Observer Blog Is Just The Start

    March 3, 2005

The Observer newspaper in the UK started a blog last weekend, as I commented on earlier this week.

Interesting snippet about what may be coming next (and probably for The Guardian, too, which owns The Observer) from Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing, recounting discussion he had with Ben Hammersley, the journalist responsible for the blog’s creation:

[…] Trackbacks and comments are on and unmoderated. Keywords are tracked and displayed in a “folksonomic zeitgeist.” Headlines from competing papers and Technorati link cosmoses are pulled in and displayed on the front page. No paywall. No adwall. No wall.

That’s just for starters. We spent many exciting hours sitting in cafes, talking about what comes next — conversations I’m not at liberty to repeat. But basically: put together a wish-list of features for a clued-in media organization to embrace, then square it and square it again in a relentless pursuit of Web-gonzoism. That’s what’s coming down the pipe.

Meanwhile back at the Observer blog, an interesting mid-week post by Kamal Ahmed, The Observer’s Executive Editor News, on his editorial policy:

[…] As head of the news team here I think it is important that I retain objectivity, so the blog will not be used, at least not by me, to make broader comments on the news agenda unless they are relevant to what the Observer is doing. I may have opinions on Blair or the Iraq war or circular classrooms, but it is important they do not infect what we do or how we approach the news. Also, as we are a Sunday paper, much of what we do has to remain private as our competitors are all trying to achieve as good and revelatory a product as we are. Unfortunately, there needs to be some confidentiality.

This is an interesting mainstream media blog. Judging from the posts during this week, it’s refreshing, good journalism and individual writers’ personalities shine through. Great start!

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