THE Guardian's Beatblogger project in Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh is a real curiosity to me. On the one hand I fear where it is going, how it could potentially disjoint traditional journalism and erode some of those well drilled values that go with it.
On the other I find it a staggeringly forward thinking piece of innovation, perhaps the journalism of tomorrow and one local and evening newspapers in particular probably should have come up with themselves four years ago.
Perhaps there is a degree of Ying and Yang about it all. Maybe that's the problem with traditional journalism, it hasn't been disjointed enough.
Regardless, it's been fascinating to watch its evolution, how it has embraced new technologies to deliver genuine multi-media reports despite the handicap of resources being reasonably scare in the bigger scheme of things.
But twinning the new media at their disposal with the sometimes forgotten values of old journalism – the contact building, time on the ground, listening to what people are saying at a local level in the community, certainly has its appeal.
In Edinburgh, Tom Allan has plugged away at establishing the local site under Guardian colours and could often be seen out and about at events, more often than not with a video camera or digital audio recorder in hand.
Better still, anyone who manages to bag the job will be doing so just in time for the Edinburgh Festival season. In many ways it should be the dream job, certainly one I'd have considered long and hard in the past.
Working remotely – ie from home, Starbucks or anywhere else with wi-fi; days in the bars with local councillors and officials to find out what the chattering classes need to know; nights out attending events be they be involving community groups or red carpet events.
Then of course doing what some of do already, following local streams in Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, blogs, online forums; sparking debates through comment, votes, vox pops. Engaging with people who, frankly, have something interesting to say.
And did I mention, it's with The Guardian. Surely there must be plenty of journalists out there who would still get a kick out of saying, yes, I work for The Guardian.
Details of the Beatblogging job and how to apply can be found at this link.
Categories: Scottish Media Jobs