Thursday, August 24, 2006
BBC Manchester gets blogging (UPDATED)
The BBC has been trying to figure out a way to work with user-generated content for a long time. But in the past their efforts have pretty much focussed on building their own platforms and editing submissions (as in the interactive Collective culture site.) Now our own Beeb outpost has decided to go the much less complicated (and cheaper) route of getting existing and would-be bloggers on board. They've just launched the BBC Manchester blog.
The full explanation of how it's going to work is here.. In a nutshell, it looks like they're going to enlist two bloggers in each of Manchester's boroughs. They'll skill them up with external blogging platforms, talk them through the BBC's editorial guidelines and production values, and match them up with staff mentors. The BBC Manchester site will then link to their blog and an editor will cherrypick their best posts for the front page of the BBC Manchester blog. For this, they will not be paid - well, not in anything but traffic and bragging rights (I can hear a few people snickering already about this being a clever way for the Beeb to land themselves some free, fresh, local content). But there's no denying that this could be an opportunity for some bloggers to increase their audience. You might even go on telly and get famous, as co-blogmeister Richard Fair explains on the site:
The BBC Manchester blog will act as a showcase for the project and, in particular, the best content that's been produced by contributors and highlighted by the BBC. This will be a "one stop shop" for BBC Manchester journalists who may want to read out content on-air, contact contributors for background information about a story, reuse a gig review on the website, or even ask a participant to go on Northwest Tonight (our regional TV news) to explain something they've covered online.
Hmmm.... sounds to me like just the sort of added-value cooperation between citizen journalists and the mainstream media that Jeff Jarvis and Nicky Lemann have been bickering about. What do people think of this? The email on their site doesn't seem to be working yet, but you can use comments to let them know about your blog until it is.
(Photo of BBC Manchester from the Unofficial Mark and Lard site.)
UPDATE: That was quick! In response to the above, Robin from the BBC Manchester blog has put up a post specifically addressing the "taking advantage of free content" question. It's here.