Over the weekend, I was able to sit down virtually with Thord Daniel Hedengren, the new editor of The Blog Herald, and a blogger in his own right over at tdhedengren.com and Blogger Talks. Here’s what he had to say about taking over The Blog Herald and a bit on its place in the blogosphere.
So Thord, you’ve been named as the new editor (as of last week) of The Blog Herald. How did this new role come about for you?
Well, I’ve been involved in Splashpress for quite some time, mostly doing design work, but Mark talked me into running Wisdump (which I left in favor of The Blog Herald), and I’m also trying to get Devlounge up to speed. When Tony Hung left The Blog Herald, it got me thinking of how I’d do the site, and I shared my thoughts with Mark. From there, the discussion moved onward, and when it turned out we were in agreement, well, the way my mind works, I was already way into what I wanted to do. So you could way I worked myself into it, in a way. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I’ve been around here for quite some time now, as you well know!
In the short & long-term – what are you plans for BH?
We need focus and we need to push our content better so that it really stands. We need to start breaking news, and we need a better platform to do that. So right now, I’m working on the new design and the change of content flow, to further strengthen the brand. Unfortunately, The Blog Herald have fallen behind a bit technically, and the lack of focus is hurting the brand. So first of all I want to remedy this situation.
In the long term, I want The Blog Herald to be the place for blog news, the newspaper of the blogosphere. Not just pumping news posts, but offering a view on the industry and the bordering ones. I’m aiming no lower than at the stars. When people think of The Blog Herald, I want them to think about breaking news, in-depth features, and the publication of the blogosphere.
One key action item that you’ve talked about is the need for a site design. Can you shed some light into what your plans are around a new look & feel for the site?
More magazine, more newspaper, more news, more visual aesthetics. I want a clean and sober site, containing a lot but not being too cluttered. It’s in the name you know, we’re The Blog Herald, and we shouldn’t forget that. I’m going to make sure that the features really stand out, but not in a matter that you miss the oh so important news. And some other nifty little things at that, including tagging and archives pages.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get the first mockups up for the readers to comment on this month.
Blog Herald has also begun using twitter – can you comment on how you see twitter integrating into the future Blog Herald.
I’m already a Twitter user myself, and it’s a great way to pick up stories. For now, The Blog Herald on Twitter is mostly about letting people know of our prime content, but further on I’m hoping it’ll be a way for people to send news tips on our way, and a direct means of communication around these things. However, for discussing the published stories, I’d say the comments are still the place to be.
Some critics of BH have recently called into question its role in the blogosphere – in particular the seeming lack of a unifying voice & theme along with a lack of breaking news. How do you plan to address these criticisms?
There’s only one way to address these things, and that is to work harder and get better. We’ll be taking the first serious steps towards this by changing the content flow, from pushing the news from the limelight, to put them back in. We’ve got great writers, so it is a matter of putting them to good use. Another thing I’m going to do is broaden the content in some areas. Lorelle’s doing a great job with the WordPress Wednesday posts, but we need to look beyond WordPress as well, it’s a great blogging platform, but it’s hardly the only one, so expect more in that area.
Still, the blogosphere isn’t the same as it was a couple of years ago. It’s so much wider, so much more than two big blog networks, and some minor wannabes today. Covering the blogosphere is harder that way.
If there’s one person that you could get to bring on as a columnist – who would it be?
What are your questions for Thord? I’ll wager he’ll answer them in the comments.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.