Evolving Scottish Roundup

Hi everyone. I’ve been having a think about the direction of this website, as I do from time to time. I want to put my thoughts to the readers because ultimately it’s not my website, it’s the Scottish blogosphere’s so the choice is up to you.

I am wondering about the separation of political and non-political roundups, which has been running for about a year. Originally I decided to separate them in an attempt to ramp up coverage of the wider blogosphere. In that, I think it has worked. But the flipside of that is that it has been ghettoised into its own corner. Perhaps it is time to go back to having one roundup per week, covering the whole blogosphere.

I can think of some advantages and disadvantages.

The separation between political and non-political is artificial in many ways, and it is difficult to know where to draw the line. Moreover, I feel that leaving a month between non-political roundups is too long. Sometimes great posts get nominated when the next roundup is not due for four weeks, which is quite a long time.

On the other hand, when a roundup has to be produced every week and only a few nominations come in, it usually falls to me and whoever is editing that week’s roundup to find interesting material to feature. I only have a limited amount of time to do this, which is why the roundup ended up often focussing on the same few blogs over and over again (something I promised I wouldn’t let happen when I set up Scottish Roundup).

It is so easy to fall into the trap of covering mainly politics. The news cycle normally provides a major focal point or a couple of major topics to cover. That allows the roundup to demonstrate the thinking of bloggers and the connections between blogs, contrasting different viewpoints with one another. That is a lot more difficult to achieve with non-political writing, because few writers will tackle the same subject in a week.

But I think these days we get enough nominations to help avoid that. Plus, it seems to me as though we have made good traction in reaching out to the wider Scottish blogosphere, not just political bloggers.

The idea behind Scottish Roundup was never to focus exclusively on politics, although that was always going to be a major part of it. But, by accident, it started to fall into a trap of covering just politics. Now I am worried that it is falling into a trap of a different kind.

That is why I am thinking about moving back to having one weekly roundup covering the whole blogosphere, but with a more conscious attempt at integrating issues outside of politics. Perhaps one idea would be to have a special roundup when there is a major news event (such as the recent release of Megrahi).

What do you all think?

Another idea I am thinking about is to bring in more features, so that the website is not just about roundups. (Obviously the name of the website is a bit of an issue, but we can think about that later.) I am considering making this a website about Scottish blogging (and podcasting / citizen journalism / etc) in general, perhaps with articles about issues affecting bloggers, profiles of bloggers and so on. Is that a good idea?

As you can probably tell, I am quite confused about what to do. But that is why I wrote this post. So please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment or by emailing me at scottishroundup@gmail.com if you prefer. Thanks!

7 comments

  1. Hiya,

    I admit I only skim the political roundups, because I’ve never been interested in politics, back in Canada or since moving here. It’s all so depressing, and there have got to be wonderful things happening in this country. I like your idea of encompassing more with each roundup, as it opens things up to the people who care about other things, like the arts, writers (for there are some fine writers in Scotland) and food.

    Thanks for all your hard work. Scottish Roundup is a unique and valuable idea and I appreciate it. 🙂

  2. Sounds fine to me, I’ll have to try to step up my submissions for a broader roundup. I only partially follow politics, so hopefully can send a few other entries over.

    Unfortunately Sunday’s I’m already busy with the Islay blogging roundup (which was inspired by the Scottish Roundup, as you probably know), so I’d struggle to write another full roundup over the weekend.

    As long as it doesn’t happen too often I think expanding with occasional features is fine. Issues affecting bloggers (e.g. privacy, copyright, libel etc) could be of interest for a lot of people and/or help them to “blog safely”. Just as long as it doesn’t overtake the original content and purpose of the Scottish Roundup.

  3. I like the idea of podcasts, obviously its hard if people are in different places, but a podcast based round up every so often (or even in the extraordinary news events mentioned) might be a good idea.

  4. I’d like to see the distinction between politics and non-politics go completely. I think the round-up should embrace all kinds of posts from photoblogs, to personal blogs, to whatever. For example some people were writing around the Al Megrahi issue in a non-political way- in my blog for example, I wrote about how Scotland would be fine because no-one in the US knew anything about us anyway and I proceeded to give examples from my own time there. Mr Farty wrote humourously along the same vein. Political? Not really- on topic- yes, you could argue that they were.

    We need the roundup to be more rounded- let’s open it up a little. I also think that people shouldn’t be shy about nominating their own posts for inclusion- if you think you write something good that week- put your hand up and post it in a link. We’re too backwards at coming forwards, us Scots.

    (I’m also up for editing another RU, so give me a shout)

    And yes, I like the idea of it becoming more of a forum from time to time.

  5. Thanks for the input everyone. It’s very helpful.

    It seems like there is a consensus to return to having one roundup per week that covers all topics.

    I think the point Misssy M makes about writing about news issues in a non-political way is important. A lot of people get the idea that the political roundup (and, before NoPoScoBloRo was spun off, the roundup as a whole) is supposed to be very serious but it’s not really the case. For instance, in the Megrahi week I included a post which asked why Megrahi was sent on the plane dressed as a ned.

    If returning to one roundup per week will help that image then it’s all for the good I think.

    As such, I will make this month’s non political roundup the final one, and from next week onwards the Sunday roundup will become the all-in-one again.

    As for other features, it is one to keep open. So I’ll keep an eye on the comments here and welcome any suggestions along those lines.

    Holyrood Patter, the idea of a podcast appeals to me too. I’m thinking about getting involved in podcasting but it will be even more labour-intensive than blogging so it’s not something to jump right in to.

  6. Jumping in late here, but I just wanted to say I agree with doing away with the distinction. Plus it will mean that I’m able to help more, because since I have to read enough of the serious stuff at work I don’t tend to keep up with the blogosphere! 😉