The pros [and cons] of the commentariat

The Guardian’s position in the vanguard of the wider media’s embrace of new technology, and in particular blogs, has come under fire[see comments] in recent days following its top-down attempt to curtail the rise of the commentariat on Comment is Free. In contrast the BBC Newsnight deputy editor, Daniel Pearl, reveals on The Editors blog how a daily current affairs programme such as Newsnight can utilise blogs, via Technorati, as a resource.. although I’d have reservations about adopting an agenda-setting approach based on the posts noted by Technorati in the longer term.He describes how one item this week was scheduled:

It takes seconds on a site like Technorati to discover what people are talking about and searching for. This has begun to make an impact on the programme.

So, for example, late on Monday night the most talked about subject in the blog world was Newt Gingrich’s appearance on America’s Meet the Press, in which he said that we are in the midst of a Third World War.

The next day we contacted Gingrich and that night he repeated his claims on Newsnight (watch it here). So in that sense blogging had an immediate impact on Newsnight’s running order.

And that’s not the only impact noted by Daniel Pearl and others on the Newsnight team:

I recently found Jeremy slumped in front of his computer. He looked despondent and when I asked why, he briefly showed me his email inbox.

For the benefit of the Guardian’s Georgina Henry, and anyone else, the rise of commetariat is not a new phenomenon, as noted here this time last year, and it’s worth keeping in mind:

America [and everywhere else – Ed], it turns out, is full of smart, clever, creative people who happen to have no interest in working and whose employers have unwisely given them Internet access. Thus every day, on my blog, these strangers show up, just to shoot the breeze, flirt, kvetch, veer off topic and, most of all, pay zero attention to what I have written.

[You forgot to add, “sex, alien abduction, Oprah, Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan, jumbo hooters the size of watermelons, Dick Cheney, Mark of the Beast, Armageddon, free money” – Ed]