Today the Guardian has launched Comment Is Free, which it calls the first collective comment blog by a British newspaper website. The paper writes:
It will incorporate all the regular Guardian and Observer main commentators, many blogging for the first time, who will be joined by a host of outside contributors - politicians, academics, writers, scientists, activists and of course existing bloggers to debate, argue and occasionally agree on the issues of the day.
Arianna Huffington has a statement of purpose on the site, a "Big Media isn't dead, just critically ill, but blogs will save it's stinking hide" sort of post. (That isn't a real quote.)
I like this part:
Blogs are by nature very personal - an intimate, often ferocious expression of the blogger's passions. You're much more intimate when you're writing a blog than when you're writing a column, let alone a book: the conversational nature of it; the way that it draws people in and includes them in the dialogue. You may set out to write about politics but, in the end, you write about yourself; about the things you care about beyond politics. And this creates a close bond between blogger and audience.
At Buzzmachine, Jeff Jarvis pronounces it very British.
But I think Comment is Free will make a great launching pad into the U.S., where The Guardian has become an antidote to FoxNews and an opinion leader.