Monday, 25 May 2009

My Welsh Blogospere - Huw Thomas

There is little doubt that the Welsh blogosphere punches above its weight - just ask Iain Dale. The uber-blogger praised Welsh political blogs as providing consistently good value when he spoke at the Blogging For Change event at Plaid's spring conference.

My own blogging follows a British Rail timetable in terms of its frequency and predictability; I am predominately a blog user rather than a devoted blog writer. On the panel at that event with Iain Dale, I described myself as a reaper of Welsh political blogs. I will stalk through feed after feed of blog posts for any tidbits which might make a story, any hint of scandal or gossip which can stand up to journalistic scrutiny and earn a place in a news bulletin.

Granted, the moments when Welsh blogs have provided a great story have been rare. But one mention of Rhodri Glyn Thomas and you'll understand the pay-offs that come from sweeping through the blogs for a scoop.

'That's just lazy journalism,' it's been put to me when I've described the Rhodri Glyn story as an example of Welsh mainstream media's successful blog-dredging. I counter that with the assertion that it's no more lazy than checking with the emergency services for newsworthy incidents, searching for a gem amongst a detritus of PR emails, or following up a tip-off from a listener.

I don't take a story on a blog as being accurate or credible unless it stands up to journalistic scrutiny. Despite the crowing from some sectors of the blogging community, the blogs are not replacing mainstream journalism as a reliable or preferable news source. But they do provide comment, discussion and a forum for new ideas which would not necessarily merit a place in a traditional media outlet, though they are fascinating reads nonetheless.

We are privileged to have a consistent turnover of high-quality blogs in Wales, and some truly appalling ones which help keep Welsh bloggers' feet on the ground.

My own blogging is set to decline over the summer as I move to London to take up a new full-time job there, but checking in with the Welsh blogs every so often will hopefully go some way towards quenching the hiraeth.

(Written by Huw Thomas, broadcast journalist, and author of the Chanticleer blog)

This is the fourteenth in a series of posts giving a chance for Welsh bloggers to have their say on the state of the blogosphere and where it's going. If you're interested in contributing place feel free to contact me at

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