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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

Why The Telegraph started MyTelegraph: a lecture with Shane Richmond, communities editior, Telegraph.co.uk

MyTelegraph, launched in May last year, was a bold move by a national newspaper to embrace the world of the blogosphere. It allows any reader to create their own blog, store all the comments they make on other readers’ blogs and save articles to read later.

But why would bloggers use MyTelegraph over a specific blogging site such as wordpress or blogger? And why would a newspaper embrace blogging when some people have argued that blogging has destroyed journalism?

Shane Richmond, community editor at Telegraph.co.uk, explains how MyTelegraph is not just a blogging platform but it is about being part of the MyTelegraph community.

“People like to see the Telegraph masthead and some just want to talk with other Telegraph readers who may have similar interests”, he said.

MyTelegraph is providing a platform for reader loyalty.

“If most of a website’s traffic is coming from a Google search or other search then the website is not doing well. If someone is simply entering the website to view one article and then clicking away after, it can be a threat to the business. It is better to gain reader loyalty so they go straight to our homepage and navigate from there,” he said (quoting a CNN journalist).

Moderation is something all blog sites have to consider. The BBC, with its BBC blog network, chooses to moderate everything before it is published but Mr Richmond points out this is not legally the best option.

” Although this may seem irresponsible, legally we are advised to offer no moderation because we could be seen to be endorsing the blog entries,” he said.

Mr Richmond explains how the Telegraph and its MyTelegraph members consider free speech paramount. But, he admits, free speech is particularly difficult when dealing with items containing illegalities such as contempt of court and defamation. He explains how Mr Justice Eady ruled last month that online defamation is ‘much more akin to slander than to the usual, more permanent kind of communications found in libel actions’. He drew parallels with internet conversations and pub conversations in that ‘they are often uninhibited, casual and ill thought out’. Mr Richmond uses this example to show how internet moderation is still an area of legal evolution.

He ended on a cheerful note, saying that MyTelegraph and blogs are great because journalists can now join the conversation with little extra cost.

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One Response

  1. Hi Amy,

    Thanks for the write-up of my talk. I just wanted to clarify one point. When I spoke about a website not doing well if most of your traffic comes from search, I was quoting a journalist who had told me ‘if most of your traffic comes from search then you don’t have a strong brand’.

    The reality is that any large site will get a large portion of its traffic from search. This is a good thing and at the Telegraph we spend a lot of time ensuring that our content can be found in search engines. However, having drawn readers in through search, we want to do everything we can to ensure they come back and that’s why it’s important to try to establish reader loyalty.

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