Blogging enables journalists to publish more stories, get rapid feedback, and cross the boundaries between old and new media. That's just online. At the Daily Telegraph - the first UK newspaper to go online 10 years ago - the new approach now extends to holding an open house event and inviting readers and other bloggers in for a chat.
Yesterday was London Social Media Club night, so Lloyd Davis led the way in meeting up with Communities Editor Shane Richmond and other Telegraph bloggers for some Q and A, a tour of the newsroom and refreshments afterwards. It reinforced my feeling that one of the greatest benefits of social media is the chance to meet interesting people.
Much of the questioning was about how journalists took to producing stories both for print and online, how comments were handled, who developed the technical platform, and how far journalists actually read other bloggers and linked.
Answers: all 40 bloggers are volunteers ... they like having the opportunity to get more stories published ... they deal with over 1000 comments a day ... Interesource developed the blogging platform ... linking to other sites is actively encouraged. It was all very open and informative, with the added treat of a guided wander around the amazing open-plan newsroom. This is organised as a hub and spokes, so that reporters can easily talk to each other, and to senior staff at the centre. Editorial conferences are held in the middle, not away in a closed office, and looming over everyone are enormous news screens showing what others are producing. It is an all-media affair, with studio space for video and podcasting.
Afterwards I asked Shane whether blogging changed journalists ... and if it did, whether they were in danger of losing some traditional questioning edge. He thought yes, there was a often change, and it was all for the better in developing a closer relationship with readers. Good relations with other bloggers won't hurt either. As someone said, once you have met someone, you are less likely to snipe at them online. Expect few jokes about the Torygraph in the blogosphere in future; it didn't feel like that at all ... though we did gather that comment moderation is fairly tight, and some of the readership holds to more, ahem, traditional values.
If you have problem with the Quicktime movie above, it's on Google video here, together with a longer version including discussion with new media consultant Simon Dickson and lawyer Mark Boardman.
Here's an earlier report on the Telegraph newsroom by Jeff Jarvis, and Shane with Jeff.