Guardian Reaffirms Commitment to Edinburgh 'Beatblogging' as Allan Moves on

The Guardian newspaper has reaffirmed its commitment to a trio of local blogs – including one based in Edinburgh – launched earlier this year to provide a focus on grassroots community journalism.

It follows the departure last week of Tom Allan, the newspaper’s first ‘beatblogger’ for Edinburgh, who left the site after six months in the role.

The search for his replacement is in the “final stages”, a Guardian spokesperson told

Said the spokesperson: “The Guardian is very committed to this project. This is an experimental project and we are developing it slowly and learning as we go.”

However, no plans have been drawn up to extend the Guardian Local initiative – currently operating in Edinburgh, Leeds and Cardiff – to other cities in the near future, they added.

Stated the newspaper’s spokesperson: “Tom remains involved with the project and is pursuing some multimedia projects alongside us.

“We had a lot of interest in the position and are in the final stages of the application process now. The new beatblogger appointment should be announced shortly.”

Allan’s decision to move on coincided with news last week that the Edinburgh-based blog recorded over 36,000 monthly unique browsers in May – higher than the Guardian’s two other local sites for Leeds and Cardiff.

Said the spokesperson: “The project is still in its early days, is fairing well, and we are pleased with the level of engagement we are getting and the warm welcome we've received.

“The user figures for all three Guardian Local sites are encouraging. They remain in line with our expectations for what is a relatively small and experimental project. It is still far too early to draw conclusions.”

Allan, who has also worked for BBC Scotland, said ‘beatblogging’ on the city of Edinburgh had been “a hugely exciting role”.

Wrote the multimedia journalist in his final post on Friday: “Beatblogging has been a hugely exciting role for me but it's the collaboration in the job – making connections between the different communities across Edinburgh – with all the guest bloggers, flickr photographers, radio makers, community centres, activists and campaigners – that has made it really great.

“Thanks to all of you who have supported the site so far – I look forward to continuing to enjoy your stories, your views of the city and your campaigns here with the soon to be appointed new beatblogger.”