The Big Blog Company is offering free training sessions for journalists who want to set up their own blogs.

The one-hour 'blogging bootcamp' sessions are scheduled to be held in London on 17, 20 and 21 December, but additional slots have been booked on 29 and 30 December due to demand.

Sessions will be led by Big Blog Company staff with freelance journalist and blogger Suw Charman and Alistair Shrimpton of blog technology firm Six Apart. Participants will learn how to use blogging software and RSS, and will leave with a fully functioning blog.

Big Blog Company associate Jackie Danicki told dotJournalism that with a network of more than 4 million blogs, there is no turning the tide on the weblog trend. She said that unlike online newspaper columns, blogs were valuable tools for research, making contacts and building an archive of easily accessible work.

"The biggest difference between newspaper columns and blogs is that the former is a one-way broadcast, the latter a conversation," said Ms Danicki.

"Blogs are an excellent way for informed writers to establish credibility, as the network that surrounds each blog - those other bloggers that you link to, the bloggers who link to you, the comments you receive on your blog - helps readers to quickly discern whether the blog is credible or not."

She added that users should take full advantage of the medium and that lone journalists should not attempt to use a blog just as a news tool.

"What interests people about blogs is the human aspect in the form of punditry - the commentary on the news of the day by informed and opinionated writers," she said.

"The business case for making the most of this tool and the network that supports it is undeniable."

The London-based Big Blog Company has previously produced blogs for political journalist Stephen Pollard and Sunday Times economics editor David Smith.

Attendees on the course should have a basic familiarity with the internet, although the session leaders can help users with all levels of experience.

At the end of January, the Big Blog Company will be holding a blog discussion event in partnership with Six Apart.

To sign up for the blogging bootcamp visit the Big Blog Company website.

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