Screenshot: Juliette Llewellyn 28.04.11
I briefly just caught the news on Twitter that the Guardian’s venture of GuardianLocal blogs is winding down. Cardiff, along with Leeds and Edinburgh, has been fortunate to be one of the three cities chosen to have a Guardianlocal beatblogger for the past year. As Peter Cox, Chair of Cardiff Civic Society, said on Radio Wales this morning, this innovative scheme introduced a new kind of journalist: the beatblogger. A journalist who is out there in the city, sitting in on meetings, talking to the locals and capturing all through videos, podcasts, photos etc. Through harnessing the great potential of social media in a local context Hannah Waldram has produced GuardianCardiff. It has, says Peter Cox, become the 2nd biggest hit website in Wales.
My experience of GuardianCardiff and Hannah Waldram has been extremely positive. I was a guest blogger on Cardiff's involvement via Incandescent with World Book Night. GuardianCardiff is successful in operating at a grassroots level, uniting varied and often disparate aspects of community. Letting Cardiff inhabitants know what is happening in the city. Much needed as society becomes ever increasingly global. We need local conversations, people talking with one another about concerns close to them. Simultaneously linking in to wider issues of a national level. It is this fabric of community that GuardianCardiff has fostered, pioneering along with Wales Online yourCardiff, Cardiff Bloggers meetings and local Social Media Surgeries, with which I have some involvement.
When I first heard of GuardianCardiff I thought it was a brilliant and innovative idea. Reading the Guardian now and again itself in a local arts centre, I enjoy many of the articles although as a reader, it can at times, be a little weighty. GuardianCardiff beatblogging is accessible, immediate and relevant. Especially with so many using smart phones and able to access information at the touch of a button. Hannah Waldram has worked tirelessly forging community links to provide a highly professional service, including guest bloggers from hyperlocal blogs. As a tweet received by Peter Cox from West Wales said they had hoped the GuardianCardiff was to become the forerunner in a network of services. Such is the power of this medium - Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, online clothing company in USA, harnessed the power of bloggers in the release of his book Delivering Happiness in June 2010. 279 blog posts, also posted on Amazon. Amazon sold out of the book on its first day!
To stop such a positive ‘experiment’ mid flow is short-sighted. Conversation is a way forward for journalism and social media is here to stay. From what I gather from the comments on GuardianLocal page further investment is required if the ventures in Cardiff, Leeds and Edinburgh are to be sustained. It is also obvious from the comments that each of the beatbloggers is thoroughly respected in their local areas. Surely this in itself is a measure of the success of the venture. Understandably any venture can only exist if the resources are there to provide it. So if you are an individual or an organisation that has the ability to support this venture in continuing then please contact: GuardianCardiff or Peter Cox on Twitter or Meg Pickard at The Guardian.
BBC News Wales coverage
Twitter campaign to Save GuardianCardiff