This article is a response to Andrew Marr’s recent comments at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
The Telegraph reports that Andrew Marr a BBC Political Presenter has had some rather strong words about bloggers and citizen journalism as a whole, lets examine some of those:
A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people.
OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.
Source: The Telegraph
So now you probably see why I (and probably any other writer) would be offended. Ironically though, this rant from Andrew Marr and in particular the comment of “rantings of very drunk people late at night” to me is more befitting of his own comments rather than the citizen journalists I read.
“socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed” – of course many people could take offense at that remark (and Mr Marr, please check my profile to see like most, I do not fit into your stereotype) I think Mr Marr needs to be very careful when he insults, lest his own “faults” get highlighted…thats quite an aggressive example of a receding hair-line on his photo and I don’t think it will be long before he will be fitting the bald criteria himself.
Talking of inadequate, I would like to ask of Mr Marr, is your doctorate studied or was it honorary from Staffordshire University? Mr Marr should maybe also take a look at the 2009 State of the Blogosphere which doesn’t really have any resemblance to Mr Marr’s stereotypes of bloggers. Whilst on the subject of inadequate, lets not forget past critism that Mr Marr has, where his questioning style was refered to as “haphazard and clumsily phrased” you can read more about that here.
Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.
Source: The Telegraph
Whereas he insults people under his own name? Ok. I’m pleased to see then like me he stands behind his words and will take responsibility for his actions and I’m sure theres a rule somewhere which says its ok to offend people if you use your real name.!?!?
Am I angry? – I don’t think so, I just resent the implication that I’m bald by a man whose hair is receding far quicker than mine.
The so-called “citizen journalists” will never offer a real replacement to newspapers and television news
Source: The Telegraph
Really Mr Marr? Maybe he should consider that many people perceive the papers and off the shelf press to be far too generic and bland to be that interesting, maybe the average reader actually WANTS to read the news with a personal opinion, maybe that’s why news sales are down and even the free papers around the stations I pass through, can’t seem to give away their wares for free. There is a need to have generic news, but if by “angry” he means that personal feeling and emotion should be absent from journalism, then I’d suggest the future of mainstream press will be 140 character statements on Twitter. I put it to you that the vast majority of those who consume news on the net, enjoy the personal view and emotion displayed in a citizens way of reporting.
Since Mr Marr has obviously given this subject alot of thought, why doesn’t he comment on the various trials that have been conducted into paid for news on the net? After all Mr Marr thinks he knows whats best, so I’m sure he will be able to tell us how successful those trials have been:
I am spending a lot of money on my iTunes account, I am already buying journalism on line, I am buying information on line, I am buying books on line……..Even if you are not going it, your children and your grandchildren will be doing it.
Buying journalism online? Oh dear Mr Marr, maybe you haven’t learnt about the free news, RSS feeds and even Twitter announcements? I thought being a journalist meant you kept on top on the current tech? Drop me an email, I’ll bring you up to speed and save you some money.
“young men sitting in their mother’s basements” – Well I’m not young, I am married and haven’t lived with my parents in the last 20 ish years (and they never had a basement when I did). I’ll skip over that childish name calling of his, since it’s a stereotype that we see used often when people really don’t have anything intelligent to argue with.
Mr Marr, I suggest you consider that the day of the citizen being led blindly by the press is over. There is certainly a demand for mainstream news, but don’t ever think that the citizen journalist is not a big player. Remember we were the ones posting in Usenet when you mainstream journalists had only started using computers as word processors, you “mainstream” journalists jumped on the bandwagon of the Net long after us “citizen writers” had already established ourselves. If the future of the press is online, remember whose playground it is and even now just hours after the Telegraph wrote that story, you can start to see how many people you have insulted with your thoughtless remarks.
I find my suspicious mind telling me that maybe Andrew Marr was after a little publicity and thought this was the best way to do it. If that’s the case, well done and I hope he is pleased with the coverage the citizen journalist is giving him. I also get the feeling that Mr Marr might see a danger to his own future career as more people stop listening to what is force fed to them and want a more “real” view, one which I add is found in the realm of the blogger.
Can a “bald, basement dwelling” blogger please tell me, is there a strange planetary alignment at the moment affecting people in the public eye? First we had Cherie Blair and Hilary Clinton saving the developing world with mobile phones and now we have a receding BBC presenter suggesting bloggers are mostly bald. What’s going on here?
Since Mr Marr thinks its fine to engage in stereotypes, I’ll end in one of my own :
It seems to me when they talk in public, Political Presenters from the BBC tend to engage mouth then brain.
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.