For those who may not have heard, The YamYam, Walsall’s very own game changing, mould-breaking news site, may soon be no more. Mark Blackstock, the overworked, underpaid man at the helm, is, to put it bluntly, shagged out. After two years of curating what has been simply the best local news aggregation site in the UK, lack of funds, total exhaustion and the desire for a life of some sort have overcome him. None of the Walsall blogging and online community can blame him, for he is a mate to all of us, and we don’t know how he’s managed to keep this dynamo of a site going for so long. From February 28th, the site that made this blog what it is, will not be updated.
Since I heard the news a couple of days ago I’ve rolled from huge sadness, to shock, to heartbreak; Mark found The Brownhills Blog in it’s earliest, most ramshackle days and encouraged me, cajoled me and promoted my work right up on the front page. My writing was given equal billing to that of professional journos. The YamYam taught me that news was about more than a masthead, it was about opinion, fire, humour and candour.
I will write more about this in the coming week or so, but it’s all a bit raw for me right now. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Here. Now. We’ve all witnessed, and been part of a revolution. Walsall’s online community found a voice because of Mark Blackstock’s work, dedication and vision. We may not always agree with each other, but we’ve become a force to be reckoned with. I like to think that several members of the political class hereabouts now sleep a good bit less soundly than they did when they only had the toothless newshounds of the kindly old Express & Star to worry about.
In the meantime, another of Mark’s workshop projects, The Plastic Hippo, has said loads of stuff that I’d like to have said, but wouldn’t have been able to. Read his post, and think on.
And Mark, thank you. You’re a star.
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