Guardian Unlimited's new Culture Vulture blogGuardian Unlimited has launched a major new blog providing a central point for news updates and reader debate on TV, film, art and books.

Culture Vulture is the eighth blog introduced by the publisher and will be written by a team of contributors from the Guardian site.

As with all Guardian blogs, Culture Vulture will encourage live reader comments - an essential part of the blogging format, according to Guardian Unlimited's assistant editor Neil McIntosh.

"Live comments are what make blogs tick! Readers become participants when they can answer back immediately - to add to a piece, correct something that's wrong, to disagree and to have a discussion with other readers within the context set by the post," said Mr McIntosh.

"And that means comments change the journalism - into something better for many kinds of stories. That's why we're so interested in blogging. It's at the heart of the first form of journalism born purely of the web."

He added that news publishers trying to blog without readers' comments will eventually give up, or realise the format works best when they allow their readers a voice. Guardian Unlimited monitors comments as they go live, publishes a talk policy for site users and encourages readers to flag up problem comments.

The site introduced Newsblog in 2000, overseen by deputy news editor and 'uber-blogger' Jane Perrone, followed by Onlineblog, Observerblog, Gamesblog and other event-specific weblogs.

Guardian Unlimited has been keen to push the blog format, now recognised as a fundamental tool for online news publishers.

"Most of Guardian Unlimited's staff have now blogged at least once, and they enjoy the flexibility and the response they get," said Mr McIntosh.

"We're also getting great support from journalists on the newspaper, who have written some very popular posts for our Newsblog."

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