Monday, October 11, 2010

He doesn't mean me, does he?

*Gulp*. Andrew Marr says bloggers are "inadequate, pimpled and single", and "slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting".

Busted. Well, nearly. I like to think of myself as 'slightly seedy', but I don't have a basement and I have no idea what a 'cauliflower nose' is. By the way, Andrew, you're no oil painting yourself mate. Maybe Marr is getting his impressions of bloggers from the Google ads for hair regrowth formula and plastic surgery that get served up with a lot of blogs?

Marr protests: "But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night." Like too much regular so-called journalism, then.

"Most citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all..." Very true, but a lot of professional journalism has very little to do with journalism. Have you read the Daily Mail or the Sun recently? "Most of the blogging is..too abusive...people say things online that they wouldn't dream of saying in person." Ever heard of Jan Moir, Andrew? Or the series of libels against national treasure Sir Elton John? Marr could also look closer to home. My ideal of journalism is, contraversially, tied up with quality of factual research, balance and accuracy. I've pointed out as has the estimable (and angry) Freewheeler the BBC's tendency uncritically to regurgitate press releases by right-wing and motor-industry lobbyists. Good journalism? I think not. Maybe it's a reflection of the poor quality of 'pro' journalism that blogs have become such a popular alternative.

The mistake Marr makes is one of generalizing all of Web 2.0. There is a huge difference between the sort of garbage you often find on the Daily Mail comment threads and well-researched, well written blogs, of which there are plenty. To lump the two together is simply sloppy journalism and shows a lack of understanding of new media. Nick Robinson has a more intelligent take on it.

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