Regular readers with sharp minds may remember that way back in August, I took umbrage at Express & Star columnist Peter Rhodes, following his smug, snide snipe about all this ‘new’ citizen journalism not being as diligent and honourable as the old inky stuff he and his employers purvey. Well, I soon forgot about that until I read the paper tonight; I noted this piece near the bottom of his nightly column.
It’s interesting that the venerable journalist picked up on the Trafigura thing rather than say, the Green Uprising in Iran (where Twitter was key) or the pro-NHS campaigns. I’d say also that Twatter and the blogosphere in general has been giving the inky press a bloody nose for some weeks – think about campaigns to skew biased newspaper polls or the continual outing of outright lies by Badscience and the like. The whole Jan Moir/Stephen Gately affair was so sudden and ferocious that the journalist and Daily Fail have been muttering darkly about orchestrated campaigns to persecute them, as if they didn’t know that they’d just published an outpouring of hateful bile masquerading as journalistic opinion. All in all, with collapsing sales and failing titles, it’s time for the Fourth Estate to sharpen their game. Let’s face it, inky media other than Private Eye would not have dared to out Trafigura or their injunction, for fear of the consequences and the commercial harm it may have done them. Today’s consumers of the news media require sharper focus, and won’t stop until they get it. If old media won’t deliver, there is now the technology to channel people power into a useful, intimidating tool to fight those who would rather sweep public opinion under the carpet. Professional media types should ignore that at their peril.
So, thanks for your nod, Peter, it fair made me smile. I know well that this blog occasionally has things to offer, if it didn’t, your newspaper wouldn’t have recycled them as their own. The whole point is, like hyperlocals up and down the country, I’m doing this because I’m passionate about my community, the place where I live and the things that I’m interested in. The prose may be rambling, unprofessional and lacking in polish, but it has something to say. Unless printed media gets back that feeling of passion, interest and participation, the downward spiral will certainly continue, and we’ll all be the poorer.
I was right about the exam howlers too, wasn’t I?