I was hugely disappointed to see the news yesterday that the Guardian Edinburgh blog is coming to an end. The two beatbloggers, Tom Allan and Michael Macleod had done a great job with the blog, and for many people in Edinburgh it had become their main source of local news.
Judging by the online comments section following the announcement, readers of Guardian Cardiff and Guardian Leeds feel the same way.
In Edinburgh, the blog covered local politics in an entirely non-partisan way, and went into the detail of decisions made at Council level in a way that no national newspaper ever could or would. For the first time in the ten years that I’ve lived in the city, local politics felt accessible and relevant
Beyond that, the blog led to much better arts coverage in the city, gave local campaigners a voice and a platform to reach wider audiences, and even gave local photographers the chance to showcase their work through the regularly updated Flickr slideshows.
In short, the Guardian Edinburgh blog felt like news as it should be – relevant to local people, regularly updated, and diverse in its coverage. I was hopeful that at the end of the blog ‘experiment,’ as the Guardian are now calling it, the local sites would be expanded to include other cities. Instead it looks like financial decisions have come before editorial ones, and that is a real shame.
A Twitter campaign has already been started to try and save Guardian Cardiff, and a crowd funding proposal has been put forward in Leeds. It would be great to see a similar campaign of support in Edinburgh, as the ultimate illustration of how successful the three blogs have become at engaging their local communities.
Edited to add that the first Guardian Edinburgh beatblogger Tom Allan has put forward his thoughts.