Nick Robinson, BBC's News political editor has had a blog for some time now, it is really an extension of his reports to camera on the ongoing Westminster sagas that he brings into the homes of millions on a nightly basis; but is it also a place for Nick to offer his own perspective on events?
The style is instantly recognisable, often with journalists you can umagine them saying it as you are reading. So is the general framing of news. Important news is Blair's slip of the tongue, adding the 'it has' to the statement that the situation in Iraq since the toppling of Saddam has been pretty much a disaster. In fact the use of words and phrases, or their absense from conversations between Blair and Musharraf, is standard fare for both the blog and Nick's reports to camera. Is there something missing?
The problem with the Newslog is that it is stuck within the confines of the BBC news format. Yes the sideswipes at politicians recur, the reports fit in to the narratives of the Blair/Brown conflict, or Blair's protracted demise, but we do not get anything of the experiences of Nick Robinson.
This man is followign Blair around the world, he is party to so much that he cannot report, but that would be the interesting stuff wouldn't it? Sadly we have to wait for his memoirs in years to come to find out the gory details from behind the scenes. But this leaves us with a question, why read the Newslog at all, why not watch the pictures accompanying these comments at 6pm or 10.30? There is an answer, sure you can scream at the TV, but you can actually publish a comment to a blog.
And here we find the interesting stuff. Replication of the negative attitude towards politicians by many, or Mr Siddelley's criticism of the disdain demonstrated by Nick through his semi-sarcastic tone. Here we find out what the public think, or do we? Perhaps this is worthy of some study, or perhaps it is simply a conversation between a few people that anyone can access but do not. Whatever the case this attempt at interaction is at times vibrant, though one gets the sense that Nick Robinson is actually talking past many of the contributors; rather than responding the next report goes up. So why is this any different to screaming at the TV?