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Blogging Indaba Post 2

Couldn’t blog Ethan’s great opening talk, because I was finalizing my presentation, but will link to the slides shortly. You can also get updates and get pictures at the conference blog – http://dci.ru.ac.blog

The first panel was the South African editor’s forum panel, featuring Chris Roper and Bryan Porter (www.24.com – I use this website a lot in SA); Juanita Williams (www.iol.co.za – my primary resource for SA news online); and Ray Hartley (Sunday Times, the one paper subscription that I have in SA).

1. Chris Roper
– Thinks blogs are important because they train to read (not write), get exposure to different kinds of stories.
– Blogging is not a threat to journalism, the only threat to journalism is journalism itself. This whole question about a code of conduct is meaningless to him. Most people mean a threat to journalism as a marketplace or their jobs but not to journalism per se e.g. how can a blog compete with the authority of the NYTimes – it can’t but it can provide a medium for questioning the authority of the NYTimes.
– As a media company, can’t have a free-for-all blog. One of the conundrums they face community produced content requires freedom, but as a brand they have to protect their own interests.
– You can’t define what a blog is, only what it is not – it is not definable.

2. Bryan Porter
– Question traditional media should be posing is not what threats to blogs post, rather what opportunities can blogs present.
– Traditionally media has spoken at it’s audience, blogging allows for feedback.
– One experiment – promoting survivor – they found a blogger who was blogging about Survivor SA and asked him whether he’d want to be the featured blog on Survivor. After the first show he already had 13,000 hits.
– Last year news 24 ran the South African Blog off. Got 300 entries in a 2 week run, they had expected 30 to 40 entries (imagine the Nation collaborating with KBW to run the Kaybees!).
– Braaispace – more of social networking space like myspace.
– Next step getting into multi-media content e.g. audience-generated videos.

3. Ray Hartley (Sunday Times)
– Important to understand that we are the very beginning of a process.
– Traditional media grappling with what gets attention vs. what is important.

4. Juanita Williams
– Her blog is Inside IOL.
– She is a journalist and struggles with the issue of whether to be objective or not on her blog given her journalism background.

5. Q&A
– In Nigeria blogging can be a threat because it can avoid editorial censorship. In Nigeria, most stories don’t make the press because of ties that some of the editors have with politicians or big corporations.
– Why should south Africans use media24.com rather than blogger or wordpress? You can get more local attention rather than being lost in the internet.

AOB: Perks of attending conferences in Africa – you get to see Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Malaika perform.

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