That was the future of legal blogging
18 February 2011
Last night, 35 legal bloggers, tweeters and journalists descended on 1 Crown Office Row chambers to debate the future of legal blogging. Twitter was abuzz with the event, and you can read the tweets even if you are not signed up to a Twitter account.
The panel was made up legal bloggers David Allen Green (Jack of Kent / New Statesman), Carl Gardner (Head of Legal) and Adam Wagner (UK Human Rights Blog), and was chaired by Catrin Griffiths, editor of The Lawyer.
The event was a great success. I will write about it in more detail soon, as I hope will others. The one and a half hour discussion was always interesting and animated, and continued in earnest over drinks and substantial nibbles afterwards. There was also a complete reversal of the usual protocol that mobile phones should be turned off, and many people tweeted from the event. One of our editors even made a successful eBay bid.
A common sentiment was that legal blogging complements and can work alongside legal journalism. The audience was a genuine mix of what one might call, non-pejoratively, the “traditional” media and the “new” media. Many spoke of the public interest of fact-checking coverage of legal news, which bloggers and tweeters were well placed to do, being enthusiasts with quick fingers and no sub-editors.
Another was that although legal tweeting had marked the end of a few legal blogs, in fact it is just another form of legal blogging and certainly one which could live alongside it.
We discussed hot topics such as whether anonymity has a legitimate part to play: yes it does, but legal job-seekers need not necessarily be afraid of revealing themselves. Also, the vexed question of commenters, and whether they should be pre-moderated or not. The panel all said that the commenters to their sites were usually extremely helpful and constructive.
By the end of the seminar, we had spent so much time discussing the present and all of its challenges that we had barely mentioned the future.
I will write a fuller account soon, and an audio podcast will be available in the next few days. In the meantime, you can read the detailed and interesting discussion which happened during the event on Twitter here (#lawblogs), with thanks to Isabel McArdle who live tweeted for us. You don’t need to be signed up to Twitter to read it.
On the basis of last night, legal blogging and tweeting undoubtedly has an exciting future. With so many enthusiastic and dedicated people involved it is hard to see how it couldn’t. We are almost certainly aiming to organise a bigger event in the next few months. Watch this space.
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