I spent a lot of time last summer on the Isle of Wight, or blogging about it for the Save Vestas blog. I was involved in the campaign by sacked wind turbine workers to save their jobs and keep a blade factory open at Newport, IoW. I've applied a few tricks I learned from that experience to what I do with this blog.
But I could never touch, none of us Barnet bloggers could, the achievement of VentnorBlog, a so-called hyperlocal blog, as they say, "not just about Ventnor" but about the whole Isle of Wight.
VentnorBlog have several correspondents, lots of different strands to the blog (audio, video, etc), and fund it - though whether wholly, I don't know - through some advertising. It's a fantastic enterprise, and has just won richly deserved recognition at an awards ceremony for so-called "community bloggers", sponsored in part by the Guardian.
VentnorBlog were named overall winner, and also won "best hyperlocal story" for their Vestas coverage, and "best use of audio" for their Mr Caulkhead Isle of Wight colloquialisms (what would a Barnet equivalent be?!).
I had some dealings with the people who set up VentnorBlog. On the whole, they were supportive of the campaign we were running, for which some criticise them. I say, it makes a nice change for the media to champion the underdog!
The founders used to live in Finchley! I actually think that their talents could be used more profitably somewhere like Barnet - or even Westminster - as with the VentnorBlog approach, nothing goes unscrutinised. However, I don't think we will be able to entice them back to Barnet from the Isle of Wight.
But perhaps we Barnet bloggers should be aiming to set up something like VentnorBlog here in Barnet. I am due an anniversary visit to the Isle of Wight. When I go, I will try to meet up with the VentnorBloggers and ask them how it is done. If we got something half as good as VentnorBlog off the ground in Barnet, the establishment would have to be very afraid!