Tag Archives: Andrew Marr

BBC Cojo: Andrew Marr is ‘spot on’

The BBC College of Journalism’s executive editor Kevin Marsh joins the quality of journalism debate this week following comments made by Andrew Marr about the blogosphere.

According to this Telegraph report Marr, speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival, said that “citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all”.

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.

Responding to the outcry which followed Marr’s comments Marsh argues that the problem is that “he’s right”. But the issue is about the quality of the journalism, he added, not the platform used.

Spot on. About bloggers, cit journalists … and about journos. Take some the key phrases and substitute ‘the British press’ and there’s little many would quarrel with.  “(The British press is) inadequate” and “nothing to do with journalism at all.” True? Probably as true as it is of bloggers etc. “A lot of (the British press) seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed … and ranting. They are very angry people.” “Most of the (British press) is too angry and too abusive. Terrible things are said … things … they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.” True? As above.

All of what Andrew Marr says about blogging and bloggers etc is as true as it is – there are bloggers we all know who are as good as or better than anything you will see in more traditional paper or spectrum journalism. But there’s also the weird, paranoid, conspiratorial, self-affirming blogosphere that is all that Andrew Marr characterises and worse.

BBC must remain editorially independent, says culture secretary

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the BBC must remain editorially independent to continue producing “world class news”.

Speaking in an interview with Andrew Marr yesterday, Hunt also indicated some change was needed to the licence fee:

We’ll be having discussions over the future of the licence fee, the next licence fee settlement next year, in which I’ll be talking to Mark and the BBC management in a lot of detail. And I do want the BBC to demonstrate that when it comes to their management pay, they’re on the same planet as everyone else because of the economic inheritance that we’re facing. Government ministers are having to be careful with every single penny of taxpayers’ money and the BBC does need to show that it’s careful with every penny of licence fee payers’ money as well.

But he added that the government support the idea of a similar stream of revenue continuing:

Well what we’ve said very clearly is that we accept the principle of the licence fee, which is the idea if you like of a household tax to fund public service broadcasting that is ring-fenced, and we think that one of the reasons we have some of the best TV and broadcasting in the world in this country is because we have these different streams of income including the licence fee, including subscription income and including advertising. Now the way we collect it may have to be rethought because technology is changing, a lot of people are watching TV on their PCs. We’re not going to introduce a PC licence fee and that is something that I do need to have discussions with the BBC to see what their ideas are.

Marr also asked Hunt for a response to the news that Express Newspapers owner Richard Desmond had purchased Channel Five. Hunt said the news was “encouraging”:

Well what people need to remember about that is that the regulations over what broadcasters can do are much stricter than over people who run newspapers and magazines. And it was a Conservative government that founded Channel Five in 1997. Indeed Conservative governments have actually been responsible for most of the big changes in broadcasting. We founded ITV and Four and did the Sky and satellite and cable revolution as well. But what I think is encouraging is that one of the first things that Richard Desmond said was that he was committed to Five’s future as a public service broadcaster.

See the full programme here…

‘I’d like to be 20 and starting out again now’ claims Andrew Marr, but at what price?

Just a few years ago, I was shaking my head and saying I thought I’d had the best of times for journalism, and wouldn’t want my children to join the trade. No longer. I’d like to be 20 and starting out again right now.

So says Andrew Marr in a piece on his take-up of digital news, despite being one of the last “news romantics”.

I think it isn’t long before in news terms, there is hardly any distinction between broadcasting and newspapers. This singularity is almost here. On my iPad, I will follow a political crisis in real time, merging commentators and video clips, a little bit of Nick Robinson here and some Simon Jenkins there.

Of course, Marr’s comments about starting out again have sparked some jokes on Twitter:

I’d like to be 20 and starting out in journalism, says Andrew Marr. http://bit.ly/bwZYW9. Maybe the BBC could put him on £12k a year?less than a minute ago via Echofon

Full story at this link…

The First Post: ‘The BBC is not impartial’

The First Post has published an article from ‘Newspeak in the 21st Century’ by David Edwards and David Cromwell (editors of the UK-based website Media Lens). The BBC is not impartial, independent, nor even particularly truthful, they argue. An extract from the extract:

“[B]y what right does the BBC airbrush from reality the swath of informed public opinion that sees the invasion as a crime, rather than as a mistake? By what right does it declare this framing of the topic ‘impartial’, ‘balanced’, ‘objective’ reporting?

“While working as the BBC’s political editor, Andrew Marr, declared: “When I joined the BBC, my Organs of Opinion were formally removed.”

“And yet, as Baghdad fell to American tanks, Marr, reporting on the News at Ten on April 9, 2003, said of Tony Blair: “He said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right. And it would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result.””

Full article at this link…

Related: Journalism in Crisis 09: ‘Recognising one’s subjectivity allows one to be fair’ Ivor Gaber tells conference (19/05/09)

The printing press versus Jesus… what year would you vote for?

The invention of the Printing Press in 1439 is currently beating Jesus’ birth in an Intelligent Life online poll on the most important year in history.

With 34 per cent of the votes so far Gutenberg’s press is leading the birth of Jesus (24 per cent), the discovery of DNA (8 per cent), the fall of Nazism (8 per cent) and the beginning of the United States of America (6 per cent).

The poll of more than 2,600 people run by the Economist title, was sparked by an article by Andrew Marr. He and five Economist journalists came up with a rough shortlist for what they believed to be the most important years of all time.

Readers have been asked to write in with their own suggestions, which have included the year photography was invented, the French Revolution in 1789 and the birth of the World Wide Web. You can vote for an existing topic or suggest your own at this link.

Others have a slightly more egotistical angle, a fair number saw the year they were born as the most important…

BBC dominates list naming top political journalists

Total Politics, political blogger Iain Dale’s recently launched magazine, tomorrow publishes its list of top political journalists, as voted for by over 100 MPs, the magazine’s Facebook group of 500, and 130 lobby journalists. It can be viewed online, after registering, on the e-zine site.

Iain Dale told Journalism.co.uk that it’s “surprising that the BBC seems more loved by Conservative MPs and Labour MPs, but few will be surprised that Labour MPs rate Andrew Marr and James Naughtie highly.

“The surprise is that Andrew Neil doesn’t figure in the Top 20 of either party. Conservative MPs have shown a masochistic tendency by voting Jeremy Paxman at eight, but Labour MPs don’t include him in their Top 20 at all.”

Topping the overall list:
1. Evan Davis
2. Jeremy Paxman
3. Matthew Parris
4. Nick Robinson
5. John Humphrys

So who do the Tories like…?
1. Evan Davis
2. Jonathan Oliver
3. Jeremy Vine
4. Carolyn Quinn
5. Martha Kearney

And who do Labour like….?
1. Andrew Marr
2. Michael White
3. David Aaronovitch
4. Polly Toynbee
5. Evan Davis

And journalists themselves…?
1. Nick Robinson
2. Jeremy Paxman
3. Evan Davis
4. David Dimbleby
5. John Humphrys

And the top blog…? A certain Iain Dale’s Diary, followed by Tim Montgomerie (2) and Guido Fawkes (3).