“Sloppy” Technology Blogging – an Editor’s Dilemma

August 25, 2008

I was pleased to read this blog post from Dan Rayburn at business of video.com (a blog I’d never come across before).

Key quote:

“Where is the fact checking by these authors? How about speaking to the companies involved before you write the article? You’re trying to decipher what someone from the BBC said on his blog and implying things as “facts” which is inaccurate. I had no problem contacting both networks involved to confirm the accurate info as I read it from the BBC blog.”

There’s been some speculation on blogs ever since Anthony Rose announced that the iPlayer would be using h.264 on some of its video on the Internet blog (disclaimer- which I edit in case you didn’t know) a couple of weeks ago.  As Dan points out:

“No where in Anthony’s post did he say anything about “switching” from Akamai to Level 3 or “replacing” Akamai for Level 3. Bloggers are implying that Akamai was the “previously chosen” provider and that Akamai has lost their BBC buisness, which is blantantly inaccurate…”

This kind of speculative blogging Dan points to sometimes gives me a dilemma.

Should I link to these posts in the Internet blog’s delicious stream even if they are interesting but wide of the mark? Or I should I ignore them on the grounds that they are gossip?

A post like this one on the excellent Telco 2.0 blog is going to be of interest to my readers. It’s speculative (phrases like “bandwidth wars” need to be taken with a pinch of salt) but is based on interesting data.  And I think my readers are clever enough and mature enough to make up their own minds about whether it’s right or wrong .

They’re certainly more clever than me. Much of the hard core technical detail goes way over my head. I was employed to edit the Internet blog not because I am a technology specialist but because (hopefully) I know how to talk online.

And the great thing about blog posts like Dan’s is that they give me stuff to link to and continue with that conversation.

Just like some of the wilder stuff that’s been written about the BBC and Microsoft if you ignore it, it won’t just go away. You have to intervene to have any effect.

And on a purely personal level I’m like Marlene Dietrich. If I see someone saying something about the BBC I know is inaccurate and I can show it is with a link, (even if it’s nothing to do with my work) well I can’t help it.

Marlene Dietrich from spike 55151 on flickr

Marlene Dietrich from spike 55151 on flickr

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9 Responses to ““Sloppy” Technology Blogging – an Editor’s Dilemma”

  1. zoe kleinman Says:

    Why on earth are you working over the bank holiday Marlene? ;)

  2. nickreynoldsatwork Says:

    As you know only too well Zoe the lines between one’s work, social media and personal life are blurred, porous and amorphous!

  3. zoe kleinman Says:

    lol, well said. You’re spot on – scary!

  4. Telco2.0 Says:

    Just for politeness’ sake, we received your comment, but our MT install has just fallen over, so it won’t be visible for some time.

  5. Shefaly Says:

    Sloppiness is the identifying characteristic of blogging, which is a big, virtual speak-easy rather than a ‘profession’ committed to fact-checking, accuracy and balance. The latter is usually called journalism although self-proclaimed journalists blogging do not always stick to these criteria.

    I write a blog – aestivating nowadays – on Obesity Headlines. The aim is to parse headlines by linking back to the original research papers (where available) and then demonstrating where media reporting is wide of the mark in pursuit of a popular or ‘clever’ (alliterative, fits-in-space etc) headline.

    On my regular blog (linked to my name here) I write about other stuff but sticking to the same principles. And the ‘awards’ I get are ‘serious blogger’, ‘profound blogger’ etc.

    Translation – low frequency of posting but heavy content means a serious but small – compared to more popular and non-fact-checking blogs – audience. How much one is committed to balance/ fact-checking and how much lack of traffic in 1000s bothers one would be determined by one’s aims for blogging.

    You raise a good point overall but there are few bloggers out there who have the ability to write persuasively and who know something about the subject they are discussing. Most of the blogosphere is opinions and prejudices. Sad but true. Like in the real world.


  6. Thanks for your comment Shefaly.

    Increasingly I think that journalists and bloggers have a lot more in common than they like to admit.

    Certainly some “news stories” written about the BBC in the papers seem to be more about opinion and prejudice than hard fact.

  7. Aravind Says:

    Hello Nick. Came across your site after having read the Telco2.0 and Dan Rayburn’s blog. bloggers exaggerating and glossing over facts is not something new, but the key question is, where’s the data proving them otherwise?

    I’ve read Anthony Rose’s blog, and a few other reports, but I’m yet to come across credible, verifiable info on BBC’s stance on H.264, and what this means for Akamai and the ISPs. Previously, Telco2.0 had come up with some great figures on the impact of the iPlayer on the ISPs, which I confirmed with staff at PlusNet, and you sort of ‘assume’ that their info is credible and backed up by hard facts (innocent until proven guilty)

    As a university student/researcher for a media analyst firm, this is interesting territory for me, but unless hard data/facts are put out in the open about the terms of the deals, expected impact on ISPs in tech/financial terms, who else do we believe but the bloggers? Nick, as editor of BBC’s tech blog, could you spk to your colleagues and get some official info put up? That, I’m sure, would help settle this matter once and for all…

    Comments anyone?

  8. nickreynoldsatwork Says:

    I suspect the information you are after is confidential Aravind, but I will try.

  9. Aravind Says:

    Thanks Nick..appreciate it!


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