The pace of life in the Blogosphere has changed. The house seems more serene; peaceful even – and purposeful.
I would venture to suggest that Bloggers have grown up; the truculent adolescents with their monosyllabic chant of ‘shan’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘don’t like it’ have left home, off to wave banners and utter two word comments on Twitter.
In their place is a new breed of Blogger. More thoughtful, less prone to knee jerk reactions, with a dedicated purpose to their prose – that of enlightenment in some corner of life that the main stream media are unable/unwilling to cover in any meaningful depth.
I have highlighted the excellent Saddleworth News before – no single element of the main stream media can begin to compete with the coverage Richard has been able to provide to those interested in the saga of the Saddleworth and Oldham by-election; informed, ahead of the pack, with unique photographs, biographies of all the main players – even the weather reports for those planning to visit the arena. Exemplary.
In a similar vein, we must commend James Doleman for his encyclopaedic coverage of the Sheridan trial. In the three months since it began, the blog has been mentioned in the Scottish parliament, received half a million page views and raised new questions about the role of social media in reporting the administration of Scottish justice. It was not just the blog itself, but the hundreds of comments which it attracted that gave an informed – and commendably balanced, given that Doleman is himself a committed socialist – insight into the myriad complexities of the internal power struggles surrounding the prosecution of Sheridan.
Who can doubt that amongst the 13,000 a day readers of Doleman’s blog were those whose profession is allegedly providing information to the public – the accredited journalists. As Doleman himself has said – “I knew that if I made a factual mistake someone would spot it and post a comment correcting it. I didn’t have any subeditors, but I had thousands of fact-checkers”. A self correcting authoritative source no less.
Dizzy has highlighted the multiple ‘coincidences’ of stories appearing in the Daily Mail which prove to have word for word similarities to his own blog entries – though I note this morning that The Telegraph has had the decency to at least credit Dizzy as its source – perhaps we are entering a new era?
My own story on Steven Neary attracted an incredible 43,684 readers for a single blog post – which completely spooked me at first, but then I realised that there are many, many people in the world who have an interest in autism, and the plural effect of the facility to deprive someone of their liberty occasioned by the Mental Capacity Act – with none of the provisions of the Mental Health Act. A subject that is avoided like the plague by the main stream media. I have little doubt that when they do get around to covering the subject, journalists will be accessing the many stories I have filed under the ‘Court of Protection’ tab for background information.
Much of the main stream media has disappeared behind a pay wall, apparently in revenge for the on-line community ‘getting their news for free’ – it would appear to be the other way round! It is the niche bloggers who are providing the news to the journalists. Guido’s site is regularly plundered for inspiration and entire story lines.
They – the MSM – are the first to cry when they think their stories are being lifted; there is currently a complaint registered with the Press Association concerning an exclusive interview with David Yeates, father of the murdered Joanna Yeates, carried out by the Solent News and Photo Agency. One of the papers that the agency sold its story to was the Southern Daily Echo. Within minutes it reappeared on the Press Association wire under the by-line ‘Rod Minchin’. From there it propagated to the Daily Mirror and on to multiple news sites – with ne’er a mention of the names of the reporters who had secured the original story, let alone payment. Solent is now considering taking legal action for breach of copyright.
It is time to break down the artificial walls between blogging and journalism; I have reported before on the laughable efforts to see access to parliament for bloggers defeated. Doleman reports in the Guardian today on the initial efforts to ‘lock him out’ of reporting on the case on the grounds that he wasn’t an accredited member of the press.
Elsewhere we have the case of the bribery and extradition case at Westminster Magistrates court, where Guardian journalists have challenged the rejection of their appeal to have access to skeleton arguments, affidavits, witness statements, and correspondence relevant to the trail. This in itself has thrown up the curious and, I suspect, previously unknown fact, that in civil litigation the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 allows them access to documentation that has not been read aloud in open court. Not just journalists either – but members of the public – this is surely a rich seam of factual information for an enterprising blogger? However, for some reason, the Criminal Procedure Rules 2010 do not provide such access; an anomaly given that when the State is prosecuting a citizen and possibly depriving him of his liberty, there is a greater need for transparency?
The Blog Society has changed – it is way past time for the main stream media to reflect that change and acknowledge their sources. Their current attitude is just making them look petty.
We have changed – you should too.
UPDATE: You may never see this again – HERE – Anna Raccoon more highly ranked than Guido or Iain Dale? Who’d a thought it?
The downside is that the only way forward from here is downwards……
I might even have a glass of champagne on the strength of that! Cheers readers!