Trust, blogging and journalism

So here’s another thing I’m trying to get my head around:

After picking up on “Anyone want to help design the Birmingham Post website?“, must have felt that I was a credible source. They wrote a story about The Post website and quoted directly from my blog.

It hit me that, actually, that is quite an interesting thing to have done. So much has been said about the danger of blogs being potentially unreliable. Yet something made me quote-able. What was it that gave me credibility in their eyes? Context?

But, whatever it was, it was not enough to give the blog the same credibility in the eyes of Yesterday, they phoned me up to verify what I had written on the web and to ask for more details.

Two interesting points here: One is that I probably would have adopted the same approach as holdthefrontpage. I think I’d be happier speaking directly to the author of a blog, rather than just wholesale lifting what they had said in a post.

Second is that when they phoned me, I clammed up. I took the journalist’s name and number and said I would pass it on to Marc to deal with (which I did).

I guess the upshot is that I didn’t feel comfortable being a spokesperson for The Post or for the website project. The daft thing about that though is I already became a spokesperson by having free reign to blog about it!

There’s something illogical going on here…

Any Questions?

Right. I think I have found another use for this blog. Tell me what you think:

Very often in journalism you have interviews booked in the diary in advance.

Now, before you go and talk to these people, obviously it’s a good idea to do your research and try and understand what they are about and what things your potential readers might want to know about them.

So why not, as part of that research, actually ask your potential readers?

So, from now on, if I have an interview in the diary I will try and post information about it on the blog in advance. That way if anyone thinks there is something they would particularly like to know about, they can put their question forward.

Now, I can’t make any promises that I’ll be able to ask them all, but it might contribute to a better informed interviewer and interview.

This week I’ve got two quite interesting subjects to write about, so I think I’ll use the next two posts to give some background on them…