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Monday 11 October 2010

Spotty Scot Excoriates Citizen Scribblers

As the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger kicks off a thoughtful examination of where the Fourth Estate now finds itself, there has been a less measured critique of the blogosphere by the Beeb’s very own Andrew Marr, formerly political editor and now front man of The Andy Marr Show (tm).

Marr has been to the Cheltenham Literary Festival – to which I say big expletive deleteding deal – where he made his views clear: “the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night”. He later added “most of the blogging is too angry and too abusive. Terrible things are said online because they are anonymous”.

Well, Andy, I can only speak for myself here, but have to say that you are in Gerald Ratner territory. I stop putting together blog posts before opening the vino, this blog isn’t anonymous, and as I’ve set out long ago, Zelo Street does not do effing and blinding – although I can’t deny that there are a number of “sweary blogs” out there. So, recalling the wise words of Mel Brooks, I say “Up Yours”.

But seriously, I can also see where Marr is coming from: far too much of the blogosphere adds little or nothing to what is already put out there by the established media. Much is churned out by those using some kind of alias, although this approach is, for those who become better known, next to useless (pace Michael White exposing Paul Staines).

Moreover, whenever blogs break stories, they still need at least the threat of exposure in the MSM to have any effect: that would be Staines again, with the Draper and McBride emails, which ended up in the Screws. And the resources available to the MSM are generally better than what the average blogger can lay their hands on.

Thus the awful truth for many bloggers. But there’s no point getting angry at Marr, because he’s hit a nerve. And there’s also no point letting it get you down. Just remember: “don’t get mad – get even”.

Anyone up for that? I am.

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