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Open journalism? The Guardian is leading the way

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 10th November 2011

I blogged recently about the Guardian’s efforts to bring its readers into the way it puts stories together. And then, last week, I covered the latest London Bloggers Meetup where the Huffington Post spoke about its ambitions to recruit more bloggers for the UK site.

So I was intrigued to read a blog post by the Guardian’s Sports Editor, Sean Ingle, announcing the publication’s new Guardian Sports Network.

As the post reveals:

“Today sees the latest attempt to open our doors with the launch of the Guardian Sport Network, a partnership with some of the best sports blogs across the globe. The partnership involves cross-posting the most interesting, provocative and quirky pieces from our 15-strong network (a figure that will grow in the weeks and months ahead) on our Sportblog, with a link back to the original site, thus showcasing bloggers’ work and hopefully driving more traffic to their sites. It is the intention of the Guardian to move closer to what our editor, Alan Rusbridger, has called an “open model of journalism” which promotes a far greater richness and diversity of content, and this is another confident step on this journey.”

At a time when debates rage about the use of syndication and lack of ‘quality’ content, it is interesting to see the Guardian taking a seemingly selfless approach;taking the best sports commentary out there and giving it a very public ‘thumbs up’ by posting it on the site. You could argue that the same is true of the tactic employed by the Huffington Post and (another similarity) the Guardian doesn’t appear to be paying contributors.

However, this strikes me as a slightly different approach to the one employed by the HuffPo that has attracted criticism. Rather than trying to attract thousands of bloggers to contribute copy to the site (like the Huffington Post), the Guardian seems to be placing more of an emphasis on quality over quantity by only choosing ten blogs at launch.

This is still work in progress but, yet again, the Guardian must be applauded for taking another innovative step to revitalise and revolutionise the way ‘traditional’ journalism is approaching the digital age.

Danny Whatmough