Deja vu at the BBC

It’s great to see the BBC pointing to African weblogs. But I gotta say, this roundup looks a little familiar to me.

Should I conclude that Alan Connor is a Global Voices fan? Or just that there’s an African A-list emerging… most of whom Global Voices links to on a regular basis? :-)

(I can’t possibly complain, since the last time the BBC mentioned me by name, they gave me a doctorate…)

Update: Alan Connor was good enough to write in and explain that his roundup was independent of the Global Voices roundup, though he’s now a GV fan. Glad my snarky comment helped alert Alan to our effort and apologies for implying that the BBC was using a GV resource without crediting us. Alan’s explanation – in the comments below – goes a long way towards making the case that, yes, there is an African A-List at this point…

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8 Responses to Deja vu at the BBC

  1. Rachel says:

    I wondered why he didn’t give a shout-out to GV, since it sure looked like he nabbed most of those links from the GV roundup.

    Or maybe, as you say, these are just the blogs to watch where Africa is concerned… :-)

  2. Alan Connor says:

    Should I conclude that Alan Connor is a Global Voices fan?

    Good question!

    Short answer: I am now.

    Medium-length answer: you must link to three dozen blog posts in the posts you mention. I know there are a lot of African blogs, but you’d pretty much hoovered up everything that was relevant to my piece already!

    And long answer: here’s how my piece came together.

    1. When I was writing this previous Weblog Watch (which is what I thought the “Déjà Vu” was going to refer to when I saw your heading!), I used the usual tricks to try and corral together some English-language African blogs: Technorati, Google to find some, go through their blogrolls, add everything you can to the RSS reader. I came across Kenyan Pundit that way, and via Ory, found other Harvard resources, including Global Voices.

    2. When I was putting together this week’s piece, I looked back through my RSS feeds, and picked out some posts. I was also talking about UK blogs, and had Firefox windows open with as many tabs as they could hold. From music blog No Rock & Roll Fun, I found another link to this Global Voices post and (I think using Linky) spewed out still more windows. (This on a dial-up!)

    3. I copied and pasted any quotes I found interesting or useful into a long text document, aiming for spread of voice, tone and subject matter. Then the synthesis, such as it is.

    4. As I was doing this, I thought about the fact that The Thinker’s Room and Bullets & Honey had cropped up again, like they had in the previous Weblog Watch. It didn’t surprise me, as their writing grabbed me first time round, and I’d been dropping into both since. But it did make me wonder if I was drawing on enough blogs: when you’re writing about an area that’s new to you, you’re risking getting — and therefore giving — a skewed picture. Which I suppose overlaps with the question of whether there’s an A-List.

    This has turned out to be a longer reply than I intended, but that’s partly, I suppose, because my M.O. is a work in progress, and I’d like to iron out any wrinkles. In researching my D.Phil, I got used to spending much longer, hoovering up every last possibility, and can’t do so in journalism. I’m aware that collation and curation require work, and always give hat-tips. But I do also avoid drawing on anyone else’s curation, since that will have its own limitations (though I tend to presume less so if it’s on an academic site).

    I’m only just getting my head around Global Voices now. I think it’s an absolutely wonderful resource. Sometimes it’s covering ground that’s already familiar; most of the time it’s new. And so I hope no offence inadvertently caused. Keep up the good work!

  3. Ethan says:

    No offense taken at all, Alan. And apologies if I offended you either.

    The whole point of Global Voices is to provide leads for journalists – I’d assumed (wrongly) that you’d hoovered the links from our roundups (which had gotten good ink in the blogosphere) and turned it into a BBC post. Which would have been fine if it were true, and well within the spirit of Global Voices, but I was angling for a “tip o’ the hat” from the beeb.

    Our convergence on the same African blogs does make an interesting argument for the emergence of an African a-list – that may be worth writing a post or essay at some point in the future.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain the origins of your roundup, and I look forward to reading your work in the future.

  4. Alan Connor says:

    Angle away! Actually, only last night I was having a conversation about how to find more forums to try and introduce global voices (with a small “g” and “b”) to a general audience, and if anything comes of that, or back at the BBC, hats will certainly be tipped. I’ll keep you posted!

  5. Hi, my name is Adrian Cachinero, and I host a blog based on debate and discussion. I’m a friend of Nick’s, whose blog is linked here, and I’m working out a podcast eventually. Could you please contact me eventually on my email, I’d very much like my blog linked on such a great blog as this one, and I would be more than happy to do the same.

    Adrian Cachinero

  6. Ethan says:

    Adrian – I’ll start watching your blog and will link to something if it catches my eye. Thanks for your comment.

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