Thursday, April 22, 2010

High-quality reporting is flourishing outside traditional newsrooms

It is a widely held view that the internet has made writers of everyone. Whether we prodigiously blog or just contribute to message boards, we all like to think that we can make a pithy observation. That shouldn't mean the specialist correspondent cannot have a greater resonance.

All this is long overdue. In America, entre- preneurially driven online journalism – that which exists outside of the established news brands – is light years ahead of what has so far emerged in Britain. Most famous is Arianna Huffington's news site Huffington Post, which six months ago sailed past The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times in terms of unique visitors, and is now rolling out a series of city-based HuffPo sites across the US.

SHOOT: In sum, there's hope for the professional freelancer.
The Business Desk's Derek Parkin

In so doing, Brown and a number of other former professional print journalists are transforming the online landscape in Britain, creating a network of expertly written websites that cater for the specialist audiences that are arguably no longer being served as they once were by more traditional media organisations.

She is now part of a team of 30 core writers who bring 2,000 users a day to the Arts Desk site, where yesterday her review of the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the London Coliseum sat alongside an interview with Barrie Keeffe, writer of The Long Good Friday. The site already has significant investment behind it, and is about to begin a marketing push which it is hoped will increase its audience from 60,000 visitors a month to 150,000 by the time it celebrates its first anniversary in September.
Hodson believes such entrepreneurial measures are essential for travel journalists, when newspapers are handing commissions to celebrity holidaymakers or sending staff writers on freebies.
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