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.