Thursday, 7 May 2009

A challenge to the pirate political bloggers

Political blogger Guido Fawkes has been celebrating his success, blogging that:

“April saw a total of over 3.6m pageviews from 1,382,879 visits by 347,994 visitors making 2,995,765 pageviews plus 680,207 views via RSS feed readers. Not bad for one guy with a laptop, Blackberry and a penchant for Guinness. With traffic averaging over 100,000 pageviews daily this blog puts traditional political publications like the New Statesman in the shade.”

The view that some individual bloggers are capable to eclipsing an entire publication is well made, but how long will the big media outfits let them get away with it?

AOL has created an original-content political-comment blog of its own called PoliticsDaily and has
staffed it with a good number of seasoned and distinguished newspaper reporters and commentators.

In a welcome to its new site, PoliticsDaily says: “We'll work hard to distinguish ourselves the old-fashioned way, with heavily reported, well-written stories.”

So, the question is, can old-school political reporting compete with the individual bloggers on their own turf? And can it win?

The Washington Post says this: “Competition in the political news sphere is tough, especially online. PoliticsDaily will have to build a credible brand with its original content, going up against media organizations that have long been offering in-depth analysis, like the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post.

“PoliticsDaily will also face some competition from Politico, which incorporates blogs, breaking news, interactive multimedia features and in-depth reporting into one site. And while the New York Times and Washington Post are hemorrhaging money from their print publications, their in-depth political coverage and analysis on their websites is strong, deploying a wide array of multimedia, blogs and long form commentary.

“And while the Huffington Post is largely a content aggregator, has a leftward bent, and doesn't pay many of its bloggers, PoliticsDaily will be 100% original content from "experienced" paid writers, and will be "poly-partisan" with perspectives from the liberals, centrists and conservatives.”

There’s a film about pirate radio out just now. It’s called The Boat that Rocked, and those of us old enough to remember those days know that almost all of the rebellious, maverick DJs that manned the stations out in the North Sea in the mid Sixties jumped ship for the
Radio 1, BBC’s pop replacement for the pirates.

So, would the political bloggers sign up with the big corporations, if those corporations learned how to handle them?
Or are the pirates already so big that the corporations have nothing to offer them?

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