‘Big Blogger’ to pick next Guardian columnist

Guardian Unlimited’s Comment Is Free site has launched a Big Brother-style competition to hire its latest correspondent.

The opinion portal opened “Big Blogger” on Monday – an effort to find its next writer from readers who write the best replies to its existing blogs.

“At the end of the week, the five top nominees will be announced,” wrote site editor Georgina Henry. “Next week, they will all be asked to write, under their own names, on a topic of their choosing.

“You will have the chance to vote on who you like best and, at the end of the week, we’ll stand down the least popular. The remaining four will write again and [will] be voted on the following week, and so on until we have our winner.

“That lucky person will then be given full blogging rights and the same deal as all our other bloggers.”

Channel 4’s Big Brother game show, in which housemates are evicted each week until the selection of a final winner, began this week. The series will see a new contestant added from those viewers who find a golden ticket inside a Kit-Kat wrapper.

The Guardian’s prize may not be as coveted as the inevitable pop culture notoriety associated with winning the TV equivalent, but Big Blogger – a title used by previous similar efforts – provides an additional route into the columnist game for would-be writers.

Ms Henry said the winner, like contributors already listed at Comment Is Free, would be “blogging as and when they like and paid for direct commissions or when their post is chosen as a pick of the day”.

• Meanwhile, ITN is experimenting with using a weblog to accompany its More4 News output.

The news team for the Channel 4 spin-off channel has been testing a journal in private since February after building a proof of concept for editors using Six Apart’s hosted TypePad service. Now the site has launched publicly with a mixture of story summaries and interviewers’ anecdotes.

“The idea of the site is to showcase the original reporting that More4 News does from around the world,” Ben King, who oversees the project, told journalism.co.uk.

“It gives viewers an inside look at how the news gets made, with some original insights and perspectives from the team. It’s also one of the Channel 4 News team’s first experiments in blogging – if it goes well then the lessons learned will feed in to a blog for the main Channel 4 News programme.”