Regional journalist is really a blogger

Robin Turner of the Western Mail (Wales Online) appears to be the epitome of a regional newspaper journalist:

Robin Turner who covers the Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot areas for Media Wales has been a news and features journalist for 30 years. Born in Port Talbot he has lived in Swansea for more than 20 years.

What he doesn’t seem to realise though, is that he is also a blogger.  As a regional hack, his words are no longer restricted to a print version of the paper, but are published online such as his recent “post” Is this the end of the blogger?

Headlined as news, this personal opinion claims:

THEY write about everything from their toddler’s first steps to politics, the credit crunch and the state of Amy Winehouse’s tattoos.  But are bloggers, the digital diarists of the 21st century, a dying breed?

Okay, so his “post” doesn’t offer the opportunity to leave comments, but you can click for del.icio.us, Digg this, Stumbleupon, get an RSS feed of posts or join a discussion forum.  Robin Turner is actually one of THEM whether he likes it or not.

Ordovicius, The Cynical Dragon, Bluesoup and Peter Black point out the weakness of Mr Turner’s argument.  I doubt however that their viewpoint will be read by the anti-blogger who sounds like he is digital phobic.

What I find fascinating is Turner’s reliance on a man in the pub, who equally is ignorant of the online world, in suggesting the demise of blogging as a result of increased use of Facebook. 

These are simply some of the online tools that people can use – but the underlying ethos of social media is growing not declining.  Indeed, Facebook is probably into the late majority aspect of Rogers’ diffusion of innovation curve as the early adopters have followed the innovators into Twitter, FriendFeed, etc.

Blogging has long outgrown its digital diary heritage being simply a means of presenting information in a time-related manner and, ideally, engaging others in dialogue through comments. 

The way that information is presented by many mainstream or specialist online media publications follows this format – including Robin Turner’s own spoutings.  If he ever does any online research (which seems unlikely), he may see the PR teams at organisations, such as GM, are presenting press information in a social media newsroom.

Blogging is not a bandwagon and just because some blogs have stagnated and other means of online discussion have emerged, does not mean the the laggards and luddites can breath a sigh of relief that online has been just a fad.

We could equally write posts entitled “Is this the end of the regional journalist?” on the basis of a five per cent decline in sales of evening papers or the shocking journalistic standards of Mr Turner in relying more on the word of a bloke in the boozer than any statistical evidence.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.