I was saddened to see today that a local newspaper for the Humberside area – The Hull Daily Mail – seems to have decided to launch a character assassination based hatchet job on the webmaster of a competing, free local news site, Hu17.net for the Beverley and Holderness area. The basic premise of the attack seems to be that the webmaster – Paul Smith – had designed some perfectly legal adult websites. This appears to have got the indignant inky in a bit of a lather – which seems just a little hypocritical for an organ that advertises some interesting adult services in its personals column. A nice roundup of the story can be found on the Register.
The net community, however, has sprung to Mr. Smiths defence in what appears to be a bit of overtly unpleasant badmouthing of a competitor. The webmaster as issued a robust defence on his site, too. All of us who have felt the cold draught from the old media should take care – this is a cautionary tale and one we ignore at our peril. As far as I can tell, it seems to be another example of unpleasantness from a sector that isn’t used to being challenged openly.
Take care, folks, there really are some sharks swimming out there.
[Edit 5th March, 10:58am] It seems the hatchet job continues… what a nasty spectacle this is.
[Edit 5th March, 11:14am] Also covered beautifully by Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog and the wonderful Journopig, who dissects some of the snide innuendo in the article beautifully.