There is an interesting conversation taking place over in the United Kingdom about the value of newspaper blogs. Andrew Grant-Adamson, a journalism professor at the University of Westminster, started the debate with this a post asking “What is the Purpose of Newspaper blogs?”

Adamson-Grant followed up by looking up the Technorati rank of the blogs for two of the UK’s largest newspapers (the Times and the Telegraph). None of the blogs at these two papers ranked particularly high in Technorati (meaning not that many sites link to them). To put it in perspective, our blog, The Bivings Report was listed higher in the Technorati rankings than any of the UK newspaper blogs.

If you concede that the Technorati rankings are an accurate measure of traffic and influence (which is highly debatable), does that mean these newspaper blogs are failures? And if traffic isn’t the goal, what is?

Robin Hamman, who heads up the blog program for the BBC, has written a great post outlining reasons for newspapers to blog beyond traffic. He wrote another good post on the subject today.

I won’t write too much on this since I pretty much agree with Robin’s takes (1 and 2).

But I will add that if the goal of newspaper blogs is solely to generate more page views (and thus ad revenue), the ones I’ve read are going about it the wrong way. For that to work, you’ve got to follow the Gawker/Weblogs Inc. model. That means you’ve got to actually break news on your blog and commit to posting 3-4 entries a day, every day.

If it’s not a pure page view play, I think the Malcolm Gladwell model is a great one to look at. Gladwell uses his blog to expand on his New Yorker pieces and write the occasional rant. He doesn’t post that often, but when he does it is always interesting.

I suspect most newspapers are aiming for the Gladwell approach, in which case traffic is certainly important.  But more important is the extra value brought to engaged readers and to the journalist/bloggers themselves.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.