The continuing evolution of the relationship between publication and informed readers is illustrated by a network of blogs on science launched by the Guardian newspaper in Britain. According to a post on Nieman Journalism Lab, the four collaborative blogs blend hosted content and contributions from scientists who are the blogs' target audience.
“This network of blogs is not just for other science bloggers to read; it’s not just for other scientists,” says Alok Jha, a science and environment correspondent who came up with the idea for the network and now — in addition to his reporting and writing duties — is overseeing its implementation. The network is intended to reach — and entertain/enrage/inform — as many people as possible. “We’re a mainstream newspaper,” he notes, “so everything we do has to come about through that prism.”
The venture, which is flagged "hosted by the Guardian" is an extension of what Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger calls mutualization. And an interesting side benefit is the compensation model, with the Guardian splitting ad revenue 50:50 with the bloggers.
After an initial trial period during which the postings will be screened by a Guardian production editor, bloggers are expected to be given remote access to the paper's web-publishing tools, something that no outsider has been able to do before. The blogs will be overseen by the bloggers themselves.
The vision — a simple one, but one that’s nicely symbolic, as well — is that the bloggers will soon be able to publish directly to the Guardian site, with no intermediary. “It’s a completely new model for us,” Jha notes — because, at the moment, “nothing here is unedited.”