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Friday, April 1, 2011

The George Orwell Blog Prize 2011 - Ad Lib raises its profile or perhaps not.

Since 2009, this annual prize for political writing has added blogging to its traditional book authoring and journalese awards.

Blogging is a solitary activity and it is rare to meet a large group of bloggers in one venue. Who are the personalities behind the postings? Blog conventions have not yet evolved to match a Hay-on-Wye festival.

This week’s evening reception in London was an opportunity to put this right: the long-listing of 20 from 200.

A quick declaration of interest is in order. Even now, I am not too sure as to how and why an invitation was extended to enter.

Ad Lib was one of the hopefuls. Alas, it failed to make an impact. Having been around for less than nine months my expectations were humble. Too little focus, weak imagery, not radical enough perhaps?

Snatched conversations in the evening and sampling a cross-section of the authors was going to be a challenge. These caught my eye.

http://www.complicity.co.uk/blog/ Zoe O’Connell
http://lettersfrommalawi.managementtoday.co.uk/ William Mitting
http://thevoiceofreason-ann.blogspot.com/ Claire Khaw

What did the judges seem to like?

Blogs which had a focus through having a story to tell. Incremental additions updating a personal dilemma.

Mainstream national journalists ( Sky, ITV and BBC ) blogging via their in-house facility received mixed comments. This raises the issue of the cross-over between blogging and the 4th estate. What are the implications of blogs which seem to be a shared outlet for a portfolio of writers eg ConservativeHome and Labour Uncut? Surely, a blogsite should have a personality stemming from the input of one writer. What would the BBC's "Letter from America" have been like if Alastair Cooke had been writing as part of a team?

With more to read and time scarce, we should be writing less and tighter. As the blogosphere expands at an exponential rate, the problem is knowing who is writing what, is it any good and how do we meet each other?

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