Under new ownership…

Guardian UnlimitedThis is probably the worst kept secret, which is why I’m a journalist and not a member of the intelligence services, but I can finally announce that I’m under new ownership. After almost eight years with the BBC, I’m joining the Guardian as their Head of Blogging and Interaction.

During my eight years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people on some great projects. The correspondents, videographers, radio producers and business managers at the Washington bureau, which I called home for six years, are the best in the business. I can’t thank them enough for their support. And Andrew Roy and Martin Turner, the two bureau chiefs I worked for, were instrumental in the success of the BBC News website’s Washington operations. John Angeli, Nic Newman, Cathy Grieve and Steve Herrmann at the News website gave me the support and the freedom to innovate.

Nic’s idea for our first US Election road trip put our audience in the driver’s seat. The US Election Challenge in 2000 pushed the edges of technology and the limits of endurance as Tom Carver and I raced across the US. More than 6,500 miles in six days.

Before Strange Attractor, I used to joke that “I’m not a blogger, but I play one on TV”. It was an accident of professional prodding really, but I was excited when Steve suggested that I blog during the political conventions in 2004. But it was such a success that Richard Greene and I reprised the 2000 road trip and I blogged across America. As I will be the first to admit, technically, it wasn’t much of a blog. No RSS. No trackbacks. The comments were put on the bottom of one of our standard web pages. But I tried to behave like a blogger.

I’ve been an online journalist for 10 years now. The reason why I am an online journalist is because every morning I get to wake up, go to work and create a new medium. And there is a lot more work to do. Here’s just a taster of what my new job is about:

[To act as] a role model for the new, participative form of journalism emerging from the best blogs. The role won’t just be about encouraging more journalists and commentators to blog. It should also be about experimenting with different forms of community interaction, spotting opportunities to launch new blogs and develop existing ones, and helping us form a strategy.

Watch this space. Now it gets interesting.

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