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the Big Blog Company | Traditional media strikes back
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
April 26 2005
Traditional media strikes back
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • lesblogs 
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Yann Chapellon, Le Monde Interactif, Neil McIntosh of the Guardian blogs, Jochen Wegner of Focus Magazine, Pierre Bellanger of skyblog and Skyrock.

Neil McIntosh
The Guardian has been interested in blogs for years. 10m users a months. We have been blogging since 2000 although our first blog had no trackbacks, no comments.
Election 2005 blog - gets thousands of comments, from readers and journalists.
We also have blogwatch, the Times has started blogging and we link to it as well. There do something called The Blair Watch Project, with doctored photos of Blair, Howard and Kennedy.

Jochen Wegner
We think that MSM should embrace blogs. There is about 100,000 blogs in total in Germany. There are some editorial weblogs of MSM - regular about 25; facultative about 20-30. A tiny number.

Broadband/blog penetration gives an interesting perspective. What are the reasons for low take up of blogging by the mainstream? Elites in Germany tend to have an anti-technology attitude. There is also a very reputation-oriented culture. If you are big brand people trust you, if you are a blogger, not the same. To me the key virtues of blogs is precisely that they are non-journalistic.

Yann Chapellon
We have had a huge take up from both users and journalists. 200 renewed blogs – good stuff.

Pierre Bellanger
1.8 million active blogs, 10 new ones every day [Ed: 28th April - I just got an email from Skyblog press officer David Roizen, who requested that I correct his number to 6,000 a day. There you have it. I guess I should take it as a good sign that someone cares what I write on my blog even though it’s a press officer paid to care about such things… grin] We have become a major player of blogging scene using not the usual type of targeting. We have gone after the first digital generation that use mobile phone and internet while growing up. They are the first generation of people using it as native tools and it changes everything. We are not a conventional radio station, we see ourselves as a community. Our aim is to create full large-scale national conversation between all teenagers in France, it’s about the social link.

Rules are important and respect the individual, we have moderation and try to keep order and respect.

Question: Between giving people a way to express themselves and defining boundaries are you taking responsibility of educating your users?

We try to create a community spirit, with freedom of speech, which we respect. 1 million people is posting everyday, full moderation is impossible. We have words alert that may lead to content moderation, we have Cybercop on every blog.

Main problem is when you are confronted with, for example, blogging about suicide – what do you do? Do you close them or what do you do? We work with association about prevention rather than censorship.

Post moderate comments seems to work well for us. Effects of network just happen, you don’t need to impose it.

[Ed. A lively debate on censorship ensued, with the IRC backchannel on the main screen fighting it out between those who wanted ‘educate’ the youth and bestowed responsibility on Pierre to do so and the L’Anglo-saxons who say ‘no way you can moderated/censor blogs, the whole point of blogging is to be unfiltered, personal and genuine’. Of course that does not make them worth reading but I disagree with any central or standardised approach to blogs and blogging. There are ways that works and even they evolve, but that’s all.]

Music is important and you can have MP3 not all are illegal, government gave money to the record company, so there are free MP3s. What the government is promoting is new habits – it’s good to do that.

We have experimented with podcasting.

We already distribute shows for iPod. So podcasting is no bother for us, just a new ways of promoting radio station and bringing the idea of podcasting to our audience.

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