Will blogging be the undoing of lobby journalism as we know it?

The benefits of blogging and the information with which it brings to the Internet public are extraordinary in terms of the speed news items can be circulated and accessibility (regards to cost to view blogs – free – and the written style which they normally take, chatty as opposed to formal and so on).

This has provided certain challenges to usual print media in both content and access. Lobby writers and the mainstream press such as the Guardian or the Times rely on what communications officers want them to hear, unless those newspapers want to spend enormous amounts of cash and time getting some reporter to sniff around dodgy dealers with dodgy information (as can be seen recently with the News of the World/ Andy Coulson case and his dealings with the murky underbelly of journalism).

Bloggers can overcome this. Firstly they don’t have to be obliged to pay lip service to any political party (its supposed that one of the reasons why it took so long for Andy Coulson’s implications in the News of the World scandals – now settled by a hearing – to get into the press is because Coulson is now in charge of communications – i.e. what goes to press – in the Conservative party, thought to be leading the next government. Newspapers upsetting the Tories may not favour them when they want their stories in the papers) therefore not under any blackmail from whoever is in charge of press releases in government. Bloggers also have the option of anonymity. Though this hasn’t always safeguarded bloggers.

Anonymity has its own risks. Leading blogger Guido Fawkes had his identity revealed, however this has not seemed to stop his style of political gossiping. The same cannot be said for NightJack, the resident police constable blogger who had his identity revealed and was found breaching certain privacy laws. Google were recently ordered by a judge in America to reveal the identity of a blogger who had been “talking trash” – by the blogger’s own admission – about a New York fashion model. So it is not all secure.

The Internet is a most popular and important source, proven by the view of Gordon Brown that all children should have it at home. One benefit of blogging is that it is a purely internet-based phenomenon that is readily available to those who pursue it. Search for anything online, and you’re almost certain to be led to a blog within the first few results. But lobby journalism has taken note of this, particularly Rupert Murdoch who wants to move it all on the web – and charge! The Guardian have dismissed plans to have a members-only online paper, though it won’t be long until something like this does arrive. The Independent and the New York Times have taken advantage of iphones by designing an app that allows you to download the day’s newspaper on to your phone in minutes, giving you the ability to read it offline (say on the tube, or out of wi-fi areas). The domain of the blog is in battle with the mainstream press, but will the difference between a fee and no fee in the future be its saving grace?

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