Tuesday 10 August 2010

Nick Robinson looking for "less abusive debate" on blogs

The BBC's Political Editor is interviewed for the BBC College of Journalism:

Transcript of Nick on blogging:

"I wrote a blog because a very clever guy who works behind the scenes, a guy called Giles Wilson at the BBC, came up with the idea that I should. I didn't even know what a blog was when he asked me. I mean this is a long time ago. This is almost a decade ago that I first started writing before I left the BBC to go to ITN.

"And at the time, really, I don't think there were political blogs at that stage. So I started writing a blog very early because some inspired individual behind the scenes at the BBC came up with the idea.

"And for me, I loved it because there were things that you could write that you simply don't get the voice to do on a tight news bulletin. I liked the interactivity of it. I liked the fact that you could be provisional in your judgements. It was a rolling process.

"Now it's completely different - there are lots of political blogs. There are people who can be faster than me on air because they don't do the other jobs that I do. There are people who do it full time which I can't possibly do. So I've had to reconsider what the role of the blog is. And in a sense it seems to me that any blog has got to be your voice.

How do you react to the comments?

"I've found the comments to be the biggest problem with the blog because while initially I liked the interactivity, what I've discovered is that a huge percentage of comments on my blog are frankly just abusive, either abusive of me, or abusive of each other or abusive of politicians. And I haven't yet found a way to cut through that and to get the sort of dialogue that I would really like.

"So I'm going to be honest with you and I've said this before and I've upset some people. I don't read the comments anything like as much as I used to because there is too much static white noise in them and not enough pure feedback. But if we could find a way of having a more thoughtful, less abusive debate via blogs I think that would be a good thing."


Anonymous said...

You want; a more thoughtful, less abusive debate via blogs I think that would be a good thing

Thats all very well. But, don't be surprised that social media actually reflects the nations views. While many appreciate you are probably looking for the story, the white noise inicates your respondents lack of voice and frustration at suffering politicians inadequacies.

If a change to white noise is desired, then someone needs to provide society with what it expects; at minimum, honesty & credibility from the people that run the country.

But lets not hold our breath.

yours respectfully,

Anonymous said...


Daniel Bennett said...

@polleetickle What would you recommend? I mean we can all be for honesty and credibility but what do you really want to see politicians do differently? Do you think enough has changed after the expenses scandal or not?

@Anonymous Very droll. Given that I can't hide behind the same anonymity as you on this blog I need to put on record that I reject the sentiment of your comment entirely even if I recognise (and hope) that it was probably just a bit of fun.

Phil Wilson said...

The BBC already outsource their blog comment moderation, so why don't they hire topic-specific moderators to highlight specific comments which might deserve a response, making that clear in the commenting/response policy?

Daniel Bennett said...

There does seem to be movement in your direction -

There must be editorial issues to work through over how and what comments to choose.

Might also cost more I suppose? I've heard it's not a good time to be splashing out ;)

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