VNU kills Kewney blog

The first impact of VNU's odd decision to buy IT news site The Inquirer has come in: it has decided to ditch Guy Kewney's blog.

At first sight this would seem to be a very stupid thing to do. And so it does at second sight too. Guy Kewney is one of the most respected IT journalists in Europe but I understand that journo-turned-publisher Paul Briggs has decided to dump the iKew blog from the end of February, presumably because he thinks Inquirer copy will offer the same sort of service but for free.

Now, any editor who has had Guy as a contributor will tell tales of infuriating deadline missing, usually amid bouts of incommunicado, but the fact remains that the medium of blogs could have been created for Guy. He gathers more original stories in one day that most reporters would take a week to root out, but they are often snippets of information that don't lend themselves to full stories.

In fact, a large percentage of IT stories fit into this box but are usually inflated with pointless quotes from industry observers and aimless stats from marketing companies in order to make it look like a traditional news story.

What blogs do – in the hands of an experienced journalist – is remove this pretence and simply get down the facts. And with every publisher under the sun now harping on about blogs and podcasts because they went to some seminar or other a fortnight ago, it seems like madness to let Guy go. If VNU had had the good sense to make iKew visible on the scatty website in the first place, I'm sure it would have seen hits rocket, but there you go, that's VNU's online nous for you.

The behind-the-scenes goings-on with the Inquirer and VNU – and the news of his impending departure were announced on Guy's own blog – which I note VNU has now pulled down. You can still see the Google cache of it here though.

Apparently the whole thing started when VNU decided to call Guy's blog The Inquisitor, and Mike took offence and called in the lawyers.

Just how much did Mike get for The Inq? It's still a matter of conjecture but after various discussions the general figure of £1 million is broadly agreed to be around right. Mike is, of course, welcome to clarify.