Blogs made in China

The Swedish blogosphere is really big. Thousands of blogs have been started during the last year. Oh, and China has 37 million. Ouch.

China Web2.0 Review says: “Baidu (Nasdaq:BIDU), most popular search engine in China, released some statistics of China’s blogosphere based on its indexed pages. According to Baidu, the number of Chinese bloggers has amounted to over 16 million, number of blogs is about 37 million, that is every blogger has 2.3 blogs in average.”

Via Poynteronline.

Dagens Nyheter and Metro hires gatekeeper for press releases

Dagens Nyheter has signed an agreement with Newsdesk where the paper is paying Newsdesk to “manage all distribution of press information to Dagens Nyheter’s all news desks, editors and reporters”. Metro has signed a similar agreement, according to Resumé.

– We will sort the material in a relevant way for DN, says Kristofer Björkman at Newsdesk.

In a sales letter from DN and Newsdesk, press contacts are asked to send all press releases to a central email address at Newsdesk, but Newsdesk clarifies in an interview that it is still an acceptable procedure to send press releases directly to journalists.

I can understand that individual journalists might need help in filtering the flood of emails that are being sent to them, but I have some doubts as to whether this is the right method. But maybe I have completely misunderstood the purpose of this agreement?

Having worked almost a decade in PR I can tell that press releases rarely get picked up by journalists you have absolutely no relation to. What will happen is that PR practitioners will add the central address to their mailing lists and still continue to send press releases to their regular journalist contacts. PR people don’t want another layer between themselves and their audience. It is “bad enough” with having journalists as gatekeepers. Now the gatekeeper hires a gatekeeper? I’m not so sure. I prefer to look in the opposite direction by experimenting with a direct dialogue with the target audience as a complement, via blogs and RSS for corporate information.

New Year’s resolutions for newspapers

While some might think that fabricating news is the future of media, Steve Outing has some advice for the rest of us. Yes, it’s that time of the year. Here’s Steve’s 9 New Year’s resolutions for the newspaper industry:

1. “I will discuss more, talk less.”
2. “I will dare to wiki.”
3. “I will be more interactive.”
4. “I will seek out ‘citizen advertisers.'”
5. “I will learn to turn free classifieds into money.”
6. “I will publish where the young people are.”
7. “I will devise a better Web site registration scheme.”
8. “I will become a podcast god.”
9. “I will not become complacent; I will remain alert.”

Blogs as agenda setters

Undercurrent points to a new article on First Monday about agenda-setting, opinion leading and blogs.

From the conclusion:

“Attempts at amateur journalism constitute only a small part of the overall blogosphere, but they have demonstrated their ability to affect the flow of information between traditional journalists and audiences. From the standpoint of agenda setting, the most important thing about web logs is the way that they bridge these components of our public sphere.

In an article published shortly after his death, Steve Chaffee (writing with Miriam Metzger in 2001) argued that new media transform the assumptions of traditional communications theory. Anticipating the developments we have seen with web logs, he predicted that “the key problem for agenda-setting theory will change from what issues the media tell people to think about to what issues people tell the media they want to think about” (375). This study suggests that he was correct.”

Hill & Knowlton’s PO box [no longer] used in suspicious campaign

Marcus writes that a webpage called Sheriffbilen (the Sheriff’s car) promotes a sticker in the form of the license plate belonging to Peter Eriksson, spokesperson for the Swedish Green Party. The web page is a protest against Eriksson’s role in the launch of a road toll and congestion charging scheme in Stockholm, due to start in January. As a member of the Swedish Parliament, Eriksson is excluded from paying the toll and the web page encourages people to order a free sticker and put it on their own license plate (it doesn’t spell it out, but what other reason is there?), something that is of course illegal. There is a disclaimer on the site that the sticker cannot be used on a license plate (duh!).

The person behind the site seems to be a former PR consultant, the otherwise brilliant lobbyist Martin Borgs. To order a sticker you are supposed to send a stamped envelope to Martin Borgs, Box 15411, 104 65 Stockholm. This is the PO box of the PR agency Hill & Knowlton in Sweden, Borgs’ previous employer. Hill & Knowlton is a member of the WPP Group, one of the world’s largest communications services companies which is listed on Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange. If we put the “Sheriff site” in that perspective, it is highly inappropriate for a listed company to let it’s post box be used in acts that border on encouragement of criminal behavior. To be honest, I don’t think Hill & Knowlton are aware of this site.

Hat tip to Urban Lindstedt.

Update: After reading my post, H&K; asked Borgs to stop using the PO box for this campaign and the site has now been updated with a new address. Clearly, Hill & Knowlton had nothing to do with the site.