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The Bloggingportal (dot eu)

by nanne Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 04:14:33 PM EST

The pan-European blogosphere is among the more self-conscious. We have been aware of one another's existence for some time. I tried to create an overview back in 2006. And there were more successful efforts to that end by Nosemonkey. Euractiv has a running feature on euroblogs and started its own initiative with blogactiv. Jon Worth has a good post that brings all of this together. But the spark for more purposeful cooperation may also have been the research by Myra von Ondarza.

Myra's study analysed the euroblogosphere from the perspective of social movement research. She used a dual-pathway model, which holds that there is an element of identification and an element of calculation to social movement action. Her conclusion was basically that we eurobloggers aren't a social movement, but just a set of wonks who like to write about the EU and who have little more in common than a desire to see a better discourse.

Since then, eurobloggers are undertaking what I see as three broad strategies to become more active and relevant. We're trying to bring bloggers together, we're trying to grow the blogosphere and we're trying to improve our presentation. An example of the second is our involvement in the th!nk about it competition. But the main effort is the bloggingportal.

The bloggingportal was developed between Stefan Happer, Jon Worth and Andreas Müllerleile. I was involved in early discussions along with a number of other people and am on board as an editor. For the German speakers among us, Stefan Happer also runs the politikportal, which is a very useful overview of newspaper information on the EU.

So how does it work? The bloggingportal is a collection of feeds with editorial input. The items on the portal only show the headline and the first few sentences, much like google news. There's a frontpage which shows the best content. The frontpage provides a great overview for people who want to read analyses and keep a tab on European politics.

The editors decide which posts to frontpage, much like on the European Tribune. We can frontpage an item by voting for it. Aside of that, editors decide which new feeds to add. We can also add and then frontpage single items. This is useful, as some things don't have feeds (like, say, eurotrib diaries) and some blogs rarely write about Europe or the EU. For the sake of making the portal searchable, we also add tags to the posts.

Currently the bloggingportal is in beta. Things to work on from my perspective would be design and a weekly newletter. But it's already a great resource.

I think these are all very exciting developments.  They won't necessarily replace (and don't attempt to replace) more personalised or more ideologically or more community based blogs, but they are an important bridge between the blogsphere and a very fractured and largely nationally based MSM.  I wish you all the best with your endeavours.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 05:50:23 PM EST
Um - no narrative?

Aggregation isn't narrative. The blogosphere will only start replacing the MSM when it starts leading the discussion.

Compiling some very fractured blogs into a single location gives you a close-up of the fractured nature of Euroblogging.

If there were some editorial summaries or points or comments or pretty much anything more interactive than a list of linked content, there might be some danger of that starting to happen.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 06:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that aggregation can work as narrative, but it needs to be curated. A team editing and highlighting parts of the flow - that knew their way around that amount of european blogs  - could really tell a story - especially with linguistic support.

The feeds could be there and available - but with a heavily curated front end -  and the possibility offered to others to create customised front ends for it.

I always think 'engine' when I see routine formatting errors - because of automation - in search results. This feels like an engine.

by irishhead on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 07:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aggregation can probably only ever work for a small audience. Or you have to keep hitting narrative points so hard over and over that it becomes very selective aggregation, which means that narrative engineering and aggregation become obviously incompatible.

I agree about the engine feel though, and - unfortunately - that feel creates a narrative of its own, by implication.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 07:53:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very useful feedback. The editorial input could indeed be improved beyond content selection to make sure that the content looks good. Aside of that, curation could come into the process by writing a newsletter.

Anyone here got an idea for a good newsletter title?

The issue is that we're all doing this in our free time, also the guys working on the technical side. So we're going to have to wait a while to get out of beta.

Customisation is already possible in terms of language; you can select which languages you want to see displayed. Right now this is only useful for German and French.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 06:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OTOH We should support a diversity of efforts to bring EU opinions together. None of us really knows which seed can or will grow into the most effective channel.

Front ends can always be added in the future. First, metrics are needed. Aggregation is one form of fact gathering. It is important for the simple reason that, like the first steam engine, it does a lot of heavy, boring lifting.

The EU itself IS fractured, if you want to use that word. I'd prefer 'culturally biodiverse' ;-)

I am beginning to see the EU as a unique structure in the history of politics and government.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't necessarily need to lead, like dkos, it can fact-check the MSM. During the election, I noticed that after awhile, whatever nutty claim came out of republican mouths here, they were quickly debunked by the blogs, and pundits stopped giving the nutjobs credence. This took a few months of aggressive work by bloggers.

Fact-checking is a very, very useful tool to have in your kit, and I think the MSM cares enough about its own credibility to pay heed.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 09:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The most succesful bloggportal (imo) in Sweden is Knuff.se. They not only aggregate posts, and webarticles from papers, but the discussions by following the links. And places them by hottest discussion (I think). This gives the reader a quick look at what is most discussed today. And I suspect that is a feature liked by lazy journalists thus giving a possibility of affecting old media.

By the way the hottest discussion right now originates from Dagens Nyheter where they claim that the opposition to the FRA law - which I wrote about at lenght here - was all astroturf created by PR firms. The interesting thing about that is that they as the paper of record feel the need to defend their turf by claiming that the new kids are just paid phonies.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 08:12:55 AM EST

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