‘Beyond Guardian Leeds’ blog is up for grabs

banner-initI’m sad local curation-based blog Beyond Guardian Leeds could soon be no more!

BGL head honcho Mike Wallis recently announced that the blog would close on December 20 unless someone came forward to take it over.

Mike cites the amount of work in keeping it going as one of the main reasons for him taking a step away. It’s something many bloggers encounter – you find the blog running you instead of you running the blog! And he’s right, once it becomes a burden then it’s time to stop.

For those who don’t know, Beyond Guardian Leeds was set up more than two and a half years ago after my blog – Guardian Leeds – was closed by the folks at the Guardian. It was put in place to fill a gap, temporarily, until something more permanent was found to replace Guardian Leeds. Its genesis came from a public meeting held at Old Broadcasting House to discuss alternative media in Leeds.

Although nothing has yet come up as a direct replacement, BGL has, for many, become a must read and a success story in its own right. It’s managed to continue and even expand on the Guardian’s open and collaborative journalism ethos – it’s had a variety of different contributors writing the regular links posts to Leeds content (ordinary Leeds folk wanting to bring their city together in an easy to read digest) and writing a variety of guest posts. There was also a link up with Leeds Trinity University which saw their journalism students contribute posts for a time.

It got the people of Leeds continuing to write, contribute and at the very least think about their city. And that’s been terrific. As Mike says, it has:

“…caused debate, sparked arguments, made a few people rethink what the scores were with blogging (although, perhaps, not enough), and done a good job of what we set out to do: give a wider audience links to local news that wasn’t being covered by the mainstream media”.

I’d like to thank Mike for all his hard work. He’s been a Godsend. There are so many other contributors. I’m afraid I’ll offend people by not mentioning them all by name and inadvertently leaving some out so I won’t even attempt to do so. But I would like to thank each and every one of them for their work. The credit for its success lies purely with the people of Leeds.

To paraphrase a quote from the former editor of the Guardian Local project, Sarah Hartley, yes it’s sad BGL is closing, but they’ve done such a fabulous job.

I do hope someone comes forward to carry it forward.

In the meantime, I’ll finish by quoting some of the many comments from BGL readers:

“So so sad BGL is ending. it is my fave email to land in my inbox. Not sure there is anywhere that offers such an amazing spread of events and news which BGL does. Will be sadly missed xxx”

“Bad news. I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep it going for all this time. It’s going to be sorely missed by loads of people, me included.”

“I have some idea of the work involved and have been very impressed at how you have kept producing it and made it both interesting and informative. It strikes me that the various people running blogs in Leeds should be able to find ways of working together which share more resources but maybe we’re too busy doing what we’re doing to do that…”


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