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Robert Peston: my blog gives my sources confidence to talk to me

Charles Miller | Monday 31 January 2011, 10:39
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In a new series about how journalists use blogging, the BBC's Business Editor, Robert Peston, says his blog is "almost the heart of the way I operate."
One of BBC News' most read blogs, Peston's Picks, was launched in January 2007, with these words:
Here and now is the best time to be broadcasting or writing about business. The private sector and the unleashing of market forces across the globe is changing all our lives, mostly for the better, but also (if, for example, you are in the wrong job in the wrong place, or if you've been saving in many conventional pension funds) for the worse. It's an epic drama called "globalisation", with Tolstoyan themes.
Four years - and a major global financial crisis - on, Peston's blog attracts two and a half million UK page views a month (BBC figure for final quarter of 2010).
After a career in newspapers, Peston's BBC job was the first in which he had to work with microphone and camera. Blogging drew more directly on his previous experience. And he says the blog lets him demonstrate the solid foundations of his reporting:
The great thing about the blog is that I can include all sorts of details that are never going to make it onto the TV or the radio. And that's really helpful, because it tells people out there that this is something that I know about and that I'm interested in, and it gives people out there more confidence - sources - to talk to me because they know I'm serious.
It also let him expose his more detailed work, so-called "scoops of interpretation". He says he loves ploughing through company accounts or Bank of England data. The blog "gives me an outlet when I just spot a trend or something hidden away in some numbers or accounts that I think carries some weighty implications. It gives me a way of taking the reader through the argument and coming up with a fairly startling conclusion".
Peston's blogs go through a formal editorial process in BBC News before being published. Nevertheless, he can blog from anywhere, at any time, on any subject - which plays to his strengths as a reporter:
"I've always been ...a pretty independent, autonomous individual," he says, "I'm a difficult bastard basically. I just take the view that I'm going to follow what interests me."
In the first of this Blogging for Journalists series, Nikki Finke, founder of Deadline.com, talks about how she made a fortune from her blogging site for Hollywood news.
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1. At 4:26pm on 10 Feb 2011, The Currency Kid wrote:
A great discussion topic!

I have just started my own blog, focussing on the financial markets, and particularly the currency markets. (www.thecurrencykid.com)

As it is extremely difficult to get an opinion heard within the financial industry, I have found that blogging is a great way to reach those who would have ordinarily been out of reach through normal publications and articles.

It also allows me to comment on whatever I like, whenever I like, and it is surprising how many comments I get through social media sites about my blog updates. There is no better feeling than when your thoughts provoke a reaction in someone who is the other side of the world!

Whilst still relatively new to the "blogging world" I am now hooked and constantly thinking of new and exciting topics I can discuss.

Looking forward to reading the next edition of the Blogging for Journalists series.

The Currency Kid
[Personal details removed by Moderator]
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2. At 8:28pm on 10 Feb 2011, Averagejoe wrote:
Myself and many other bloggers love Pestons blog, and see it as an opportunity to post our thoughts and views against what I see as a very rose tinted goggles media view of the world of business and economics. For too long has "mainstream" thinking been allowed to 'brainwash' the masses into thinking in one dimension. THe reality is there are many ways to view current events and the blog gives the bloggers the opportunity to level the playing field. Democrasy is much healthier for it as a result!
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Robert Peston: my blog gives my sources confidence to talk to me

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