I’ve just received BBC Newsnight’s email newsletter and was shocked at what I’d read.
Daniel Pearl, Newsnight’s deputy editor revealed that as well as sifting through the thousands of spam emails Jeremy Paxman gets (his email is easy to guess apparently), the running order of the show was changed because of what was kicking off on Technorati.
It takes seconds on a site like Technorati to discover what people are talking about and searching for. This has begun to make an impact on the programme. So, for example, late on Monday night the most talked about subject in the blog world was Newt Gingrich’s appearance on America’s Meet the Press, in which he said that we are in the midst of a Third World War.
The next day we contacted Gingrich and that night he repeated his claims on Newsnight (watch it here). So in that sense blogging had an immediate impact on Newsnight’s running order.
I knew popular and respected blogs would influence news or at least provide good commentary during a report – but to hear MSM are using sites like Technorati to gauge public feeling is incredible.
It makes sense – want a quick indication of what the public is reading / talking about? Look for the story with the biggest amount of bookmarks or diggs.
Of course, the community on Technorati doesn’t really represent a cross section of the world at large (unless there are six billion 24 year old white mate geeks in the world), but as web penetration proliferates, these sites will become more reliable.