Aren’t blogs strange.
Some say they’re the future of journalism, others that they give too much publicity to numbskulls like me who can write whatever they want without being fettered by the usual editorial restrictions of a newspaper.
Thanks to the hundreds of people who read my blog yesterday, it was my most successful day ever. Coincidentally, it was same day as the latest circulation figures for regional newspapers were published.
While the figures don’t make particularly nice viewing in terms of the drop of people buying the paper in the traditional format, it’s easy to forget that a phenomenal number of people still pick up a copy of the good old Mercury. Certainly hundreds of times more than read any of its reporters’ new fangled blogs.
Nevertheless, seeing how many people are reading our blogs, and what posts are the most popular, have become a bit of an obsession in the newsroom, as we log on to see our running totals. Loose cannon Peter Warzynski, police insider Ciaran Fagan, new boy David Maclean and business guru Ian Griffin are the reporters all joining in. (Is there a reason why this appears to be a particularly male pursuit?)
I suppose it isn’t hard to see why I received most views yesterday. Anything that’s a bit controversial is going to get people having a look. After all, newspapers learnt that centuries ago.
So it can be tempting to say inflammatory things just for the sake of it. But just like a responsible newspaper, we have to self-edit and show some restraint. Otherwise we just become another voice in the mob.
I was genuinely angry yesterday. Sometimes things happen which I believe are wrong or unfair. And those things are worth talking about, even if others disagree.
Incidentally, Pete is currently ahead in the most-blog-hits-in-a-day competition but that appears to be because he has mentioned both yurts and Michael Jackson. A lot of people search for those terms and end up at his blog. And our night editor Mark Charlton reckons he got tens of thousands of hits just by blogging about northern soul music.
I don’t believe him for a second but it can’t do any harm to make this the title of today’s blog, can it.