BritMums Live! British Blogging Now Panel Discussion

Jennifer Howze (l) and Jeanne Horack-Druiff (r) image courtesy of Cat Dean

BritMums Live!, held on 22-23 June, was a one-of-a-kind blogging conference where over 500 bloggers, PR’s and speakers gathered to share knowledge, learn from each other, network and laugh a bit too. Thanks to several brilliant BritMums Reporters, we are able to bring you a “blow by blow” account of each session as it happened. Enjoy!

Roundtable: British blogging now

Reported by Cat Dean


Carla Busazi, Huffington Post UK; Dan Elton, Left Foot Forward; Steve Keenan, Travel Perspective and Sunday Times Online Travel; Jeanne Horak-Druiff, Cook Sister; Sarah Ebner, Times School Gate


As the post-Ruby Wax hubbub subsided, the lady next to me whispered “This should be quite good.” I wasn’t sure; I was interested but not excited. Until it started and the (impressively well-credentialled) panel started talking about blogging, about community, about access to information, about change, about something which could be, well, a lot more powerful than I’d realised. Here’s a summary:


Steve Keenan talked about big changes in media, mentioning that The Guardian says it may not run a print edition in three years’ time and predicted that “Bloggers will replace freelance writers who just don’t ‘get’ blogging”. He noted that travel journalists are now often briefed to find a good blogger from the area for research. I found that a fascinating indication of the level of interest.


Sarah Ebner discussed blogging allowing access to community – she said ‘important people do blog’ and through them, we ‘can see behind the screen’. She also noted that behind closed doors journalists & bloggers have a symbiotic relationship, suggesting that journalists rely on bloggers more than they might like to say. She also mentioned that The Times allows her to write her posts in her way, a license not necessarily extended to print journalists.


Dan Elton talked about political blogging and the particular problem of access to information. He believes that people are increasingly looking for discussion and that blogging can provide this, mentioning blogger Sue Marsh. The establishment, he said, is taking now bloggers seriously and cited the Orwell prize for the UK’s best political writing which, since 2009, recognises bloggers as well as journalists.


Jeanne Horak-Druiff noted that the blogging world has become more competitive and that standards are far higher than when she started in 2007, particularly in areas such as food photography. She says the blogger has around 5 seconds to capture the reader’s attention before they click away. She felt that food blogs (‘a voyeur’s dream’) were very visually driven and that good photography was vital.


In answer to Carla Busazi’s question ‘What do you look for – what excites you?’

– Steve spoke of his passion for video, saying it was ‘something you should have’ and noting that Youtube is 2nd biggest search engine and that it is proven that people stay for longer on a site with video.


– Jeanne likes blogs like Life’s a Feast; What’s for Lunch Honey and Eggs on the Roof. She doesn’t like anything too commercial or regurgitated PR. She finished by saying that story is at heart of good food blog, not just food.


– Dan likes original voices, referencing Matt Yglesias and Tim Sullivan, saying “you don’t know what they are going to say next but they are consistent.”

– Sarah – mentioned bloggers such as Joanne Jacobs and Rosie Scribble, mentioning that it is generally the story that grabs her. She noted that blogging sometimes it can be overwhelming, as there is always something you can be doing.


Afterwards, I asked Cheryl from what she thought of it. She said she’d found it ‘Really inspiring,’ and went on to say that she hadn’t realised how seriously it was taken. That sums up my thinking too – I hadn’t realised just how cool blogging is.


By Cat Dean


I blog on writing and creating amidst the chaos of family life at and I’m working on my first novel, sadly only between the hours of 5am and 7am before the children wake up! As well as struggling with effortlessly balancing family life with creative pursuits, I have something of an obsessive-compulsive disorder regarding stationery. I also make a mean batch of scones and am equally at home fiddling with words, wool and pixels.


I did an MSc in multimedia way back when people still said ‘the world wide web’ and I’ve freelanced and/or lectured in new media since then. I love writing and this year I was delighted win the National Galleries of Scotland ‘Inspired? Get Writing! Creative Writing Competition’; to have a short story published in Gutter & The Scotsman. I’ve also run workshops at Aye Write! and Write Now 2012 been shortlisted for the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and read at Edinburgh International Book Festival.

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About Karin Joyce

Karin Joyce is the creator of Embrace Happy, an inspirational and motivational website where the focus is on celebrating the good in our lives every day. The Embrace Happy tagline is: Not every day is good but there is good in every day.

Before starting Embrace Happy, Karin was one of the “old school” bloggers from the early days of what was then British Mummy Bloggers with her parenting blog Cafe Bebe. In between school runs, blogging and being a wife to Mark and Mum to Ella (6 1/2) and Sam (3), Karin also works as a freelance social media manager and consultant.

1 Comment

  1. 27 September 2012 / 12:12

    Oh my word – I didn’t realise how co-ordinatedly dotty Jennifer and I were! Great write-up of a great day 🙂