notes from blogcamp.ch presentation. may be inaccurate.
Bruno Giussani: special projects for l’Hebdo => involved in Bondy Blog thing.
Riots for 3 weeks. 9000 cars burned. 2921 people arrested. Outskirts (suburbs).
Special reporters flocking there from everywhere, and then disappeared (as soon as the curve of violence started going down).
Suburbs: journalists stay in a nice hotel in Paris, eat there, go out reporting during the day, then back to nice hotel. Don’t actually stay there.
L’Hebdo did things differently: chose Bondy, one town in France, to do old-fashioned reporting. They sent their 20 reporters there (weekly rotations). Set up an office in the local football warehouse thing, slept there, with a DSL connection.
- write about the situation in that city for the magazine
- blog between magazine issues
- journalists used to a weekly rythm started reporting on stuff on the blog they would never have talked about. “Smaller things” which are part of Real Life and never ends up in the press. Or big things (“Les filles de Bondy parlent”) which fired national controversy.
- journalists would come back completely enthusiastic (journalistic freedom recovered) when they left because they “had to”
Everybody wrote about this story. Old media. Curious about what is going on in the blogosphere but don’t know how to handle it. And suddenly this small magazine does something and everybody wants to copy/learn/understand. (Here, being “Swiss” had an advantage.)
Once the newsroom ran out of journalists, what to do? Successful blog, tons of comments… can’t let it die. Instead of sending people again, reached out to young people in Bondy to see if they would take over.
Brought them all to Lausanne for a week of blog/journalism training, then were given the password to the blog and were sent back. Midway between classical blogging and journalism. Have a weekly meeting, etc.
About a dozen bloggers now, covering their life. For the first time, this 50’000 person town has a local publication. Telling their story in their own voice.
Started doing reverse reporting (sending their people to rich neighbourhoods in Paris, for example).
Financed by turning part of the content of the first year of blogging into a book.
Important consequence: the banlieue had a voice at the beginning of the presidential compaign! Dec. 15, Bondy Blog guy asks Sarkozy for his phone number at a press conference, and actually gets it!
Sponsored by Yahoo France now. Have been building a network of correspondants in 15 different banlieues in France. A national media from the banlieue perspective!
Journalism in the P2P world is not about antagonism (old vs. new, professionals vs. amateurs, paying vs. free, controlled vs. open) but it’s hybrid, being complementary.
Roughly 6000 visitors a day when they switched to Yahoo.
Background: where did the idea come from? came up during a news meeting, but the year before they had a kind of blogcamp for the newsroom.
New projects in this direction? L’Hebdo launched 8 blogs since then. Has influenced how the journal thinks.
Bruno is a little more radical about how magazines should do things (steph-note: hope I understood this right): shouldn’t have a traditional website (but journalists should blog, of course, and put the magazine content online for free), but should invest heavily in this kind of operation, including training. (Throwing blogs at people doesn’t work, we’re starting to know it.) Big problem in the newsroom: publication brand vs. personal (journalist) brand.
Bondy blog (network) become a sort of training ground for banlieue people to become recognised as contributors, and Bruno guesses that probably some of them will be hired by “old media” once the elections are over.
Bruno: l’Hebdo never planned for all that. It just happened, organically.