In February, the free Swedish daily Metro said it would shut down all of the thousands of blogs they hade been hosting since 2007. Metro eventually found a solution to keep the blogs running and move them to a new platform (WordPress). Today another Swedish newspaper, the tabloid Expressen, announced they would stop hosting blogs. All blogs except a few reader blogs Expressen considered “worth keeping”, and the blogs of its own journalists, will be shut down.
– Our blogging platform is lacking in functionality, we have been focusing on other things and we are now offering our bloggers to move over to other platforms. We do not have the resources to keep the blogging platform running, says Mattias Carlsson, editor in chief, digital media at Expressen (my translation).
It’s not surprising that newspapers have a hard time competing with other blogging platforms and the question is how long Aftonbladet will continue to host blogs. Since April 2011, bloggers have the ability to export their Aftonbladet blogs to WordPress. Maybe it is a sign of what’s to come?
Footnote: Here’s how Expressen presented the initiative as a success after it launched (in Swedish).
Joakim at Mindpark ponders over who Aftonbladet’s main enemy today is. The Swedish daily successfully beat its prime competitor Expressen a decade or so ago, and Aftonbladet has remained the leader ever since. Expressen is no longer seen as a huge threat.
“Who is aftonbladet.se fighting against, what threats does TV4 picture, who is the morning press going to beat into humiliation? Who is friend and who is foe?” [My translation]
And maybe the answer is very close at hand. Henrik Torstensson writes about an inteview with Kalle Jungkvist, editor-in-chief of Aftonbladet Nya Medier.
“When Aftonbladet.se recently did a focus group with twentysomethings, the main competitor in terms of time to Aftonbladet.se was said to be Facebook. The choice for young Internet users was to, more or less, aimlessly surf Aftonbladet or Facebook for a while.”
UPDATE 1: Sure enough, there is a difference between Aftonbladet and Aftonbladet.se, and today Jan Helin, the brand new editor-in-chief of Aftonbladet, tells Medievärlden that “We have a distinct competitor, the tabloid Expressen”. He continues to say “Then the picture is more complex in reality, we compete about people’s time and with what you do online. But now the tabloid is in focus and every day we face Expressen on the starting line”. [My translation]
UPDATE 2: Jeff Jarvis also comments over at BuzzMachine.
The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet started to show blog links via its own blog portal Bloggportalen.se on October 23, 2007. I noted on that day, that we should “prepare to see a major increase in blog links to Aftonbladet.se the coming weeks”. The reason being of course that bloggers would be more encouraged to link to a high trafficked site that could possibly send them large amounts of new visitors. So was I right?
Well, on the launch day (at 11.45 PM to be precise), Technorati had registered 61,853 blog reactions to Aftonbladet.se. Today, a little more than a month later, there are 69,219 blog reactions (at 9.38 PM), which is an increase with 12%, in just one month. And I may be wrong here, but I believe that Technorati track links during the last six months which means that links that are older than six months do not count any longer (please correct me if I got this backwards). If that is the case, the increase cannot simply be due to a stretched measurement period, but something else is at play. I would not be surprised if the blog linking stategy has paid off already.
If I had had half a brain, I would also have scribbled down the number of incoming blog links to Expressen on Oct 23, so that we could compare, but unfortunately I didn’t.
Tags: aftonbladet, technorati, bloggportalen, bloggar, aftonbladet. Ping.
Swedish blog readers have killed one high profile blog this week and rescued another from being buried. Right wing veteran Dick Erixon came to the point where he couldn’t justify blogging for free any longer so he published an ultimatum – help me collect 100,000 kronor (about 11,000 euro) or the blog dies. In just five days his readers contributed 90,741 kronor via SMS and Erixon has now decided to keep blogging.
At the other end of the spectrum, journalist and Sweden’s self-proclaimed “blog queen” (eh…?) Linda Skugge has decided to quit blogging due to threats, negative comments and emails from her readers. As much as I hate seeing any voice being silenced by hatemongers, it is hard not to think that what goes around comes around. Skugge has built a brand by being provocative and she can stir up a debate with a blog post that is shorter than this sentence.
Thomas Mattsson, editor in chief at Expressen Nya Medier comments (my translation):
– Interactivity pushes media companies to open up for the possibility to criticize journalists. I think it that journalism will benefit from it. There will be a period when journalists will need to get used to it.
I wrote in March that the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJF) called Metro’s editor-in-chief Sakari Pitkänen the “grave-digger of journalism” after initiating a project involving citizen journalists in the Stockholm region. I thought that was a bit tough on Metro, but it seems that the initiative has some quality problems regarding the origin of at least one article. Resumé can today reveal that one citizen journalist in Österåker copied an article from Expressen and published it in Metro with his own byline.
Sakari Pitkänen admits that there has been a copyright infringement and that the original writer Carl V Andersson is entitled to remuneration.
Resumé has a link to the Google cache and the original.
What Resumé fails to discover is that the citizen journalist, who is also a blogger, is a candidate for Vänsterpartiet (v), the leftist party, in Österåker. He is also a member of the board in (v) in Österåker. With that in mind one could question if the purpose of Metro’s citizen journalist project was that politicians would write articles. I think not.
Tags: citizen journalism, plagiarism, media, metro, media.
On 24 February, Swedish daily Expressen launched a new feature enabling readers to start their own blogs at expressen.se. It only took a few days for Expressen to exclaim “Success!”, and indeed, they are already hosting about 1,000 blogs. However, these blogs have very few readers. I took a closer look on Friday 10 March, and at 9 PM, only 2 percent of the blogs had more than 50 daily visits. 86 percent had 5 visits or less and more than half had no visitors at all. All the 959 blogs only totalled a measly 4,315 daily visits that day (with three hours left of the day).
Naturally these figures might improve ovet time and it takes a while to build an audience, but bloggers who created mirror blogs on Expressen.se to drive traffic to their real blogs must have been deeply disappointed.
Update: Expressen tempts new bloggers with “an audience of a million”. Via Johan.
Footnote: Only daily visits via expressen.se are counted. Blogs may have other visitors that do not come from expressen.se.
Tags: newspapers, blogs, media.