A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Guardianistas want to know what to do about us bloggers.....

Simon Waldman, The Gloomiad's director of digital publishing, is concerned about the challenge posed by weblogs. Interestingly, echoing the Archbishop of Canterbury's chilling talk of the world wide web being "unpoliced", The Groaniad cannot avoid employing words like "control" and "harness": 'Striking up conversations with strangers' (The Guardian, June 18):
"Now, as both a newspaper and a website, we are having to get used to something new: blogging. Blogs that link to us, that talk about us, that criticise us and praise us. Bloggers who have read the Guardian throughout their adult lives, and bloggers who might have stumbled across a single story on Google and decided to love or loathe us as a result...."

Reading this piece, you really do get the feeling that some journalists are gnashing their teeth because we plebs and proles no longer have to rely for our ripostes on their kindness, on a heavily-edited 'Letter to the Editor' once every blue moon (if we are lucky), a letter entirely, of course, under their control. What is more, we can now respond within minutes, and we can, on occasion, tap into news items before them:
"Even a self-declared 'digital immigrant' such as Rupert Murdoch can see how that is changing people's relationship with their newspaper. 'The digital native,' he told the American Association of Newspaper Editors, 'doesn't send a letter to the editor anymore. She goes online, and starts a blog.'"

The following is also a most revealing comment:
"A swarm of angry bloggers is not pleasant to run into; and a swarm of angry, politically motivated bloggers even less so."

This coming from The Guardian, one of the most politically-motivated of newspapers, is rich indeed. Underneath, you can sense that the gloomy Guardianistas are pretty annoyed that their rantings are no longer safely confined to their own kind, to the Dave and Deidre Sparts of this world.

Thus, bloggers are:
"...spawning a 'secondary market' in conversations and connections we have no control over" and "... conversations about our content are permanent, and global." [Just as it should be]

Lastly, "...we are currently looking at a number of ways to harness this energy. It isn't simple. It isn't easy. The challenges are technical and legal as much as anything else. But it is fascinating, and exciting..."

The arrogance behind this last sentiment is breathtaking. You harness what you want to mate, but give me and my blog the freedom and space to expose your daily ecohype for what it is.

Read by contrast: 'Blogs lauded in "freedom awards"' (BBC Online Technology News, June 17).

Philip, "Beware journalists bearing gifts." Just remember that bloggers Norman Geras and Scott Burgess are far better than nearly every print commentator - and they come for free. They write better too. Tea? Fairblog or Earl Grey? "Gunpowder, thanks."

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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