A picture on the Globe and Mail blog site, of Brenda Lee, who, as the AP reported is ‘a writer for a small Georgia newspaper who wanted to give President Barack Obama a letter’, being removed from near Air Force One on Thursday. Full post at this link…
“Nadine Dorries, the Conservative frontbencher who claimed the Daily Telegraph’s revelations on expenses could drive MPs to suicide, has had her blog shut down by lawyers acting for the newspaper,” reported the Observer’s Gaby Hinsliff on Saturday (follow link for fuller details).
Today, on her own blog, Dorries comments:
“As well as waiting during the night on Friday to see if my career was in tatters, I also had to deal with the minor problem of the Barclay Brother’s [sic] use of global lawyers and the removal of my blog site on behalf of the Telegraph Group.
“At 1am I felt as though I was in a very surreal place. This was just little me, and two of the richest men in the world who own a newspaper empire and can pretty much say what they want, when they want, to who they want, had, using their wealth and muscle, shut me down.”
Earlier this week Journalism.co.uk picked up an update to Twitter from Nick Clayton, technology journalist, weekly tech columnist for the Scotsman, and recently signed-up blogger for Scottish media news website Allmediascotland (AMS):
The blog post in question – published on Friday 19 – mentioned, amongst other things, Clayton’s attempts to sell his house and the following statement, which seems to have riled The Scotsman:
“All but one of the too many estate agents I spoke to told me not to bother advertising in The Scotsman. Whether you’re looking for work or a home, the web’s the place to go.”
Clayton was told he was fired by Alison Gray, editor of the paper’s Saturday magazine, just hours after the post was put live, with it cited as the key reason behind his sacking.
“I’d written a slightly controversial blog entry for allmediascotland.com suggesting that, as websites replace printed newspapers, there would be little need for physical offices and that the role of the sub-editor would disappear. I hoped it would be a little provocative, but the most I expected was to have a few virtual brickbats lobbed in my direction,” said Clayton, in a follow-up piece.
Journalism.co.uk tried contacting the Scotsman, leaving messages with Alison Gray and the office of Tim Bowdler, chief executive of Scotsman Publications, but received no response to the following:
– does the Scotsman have a set policy on staff writing for external websites? and are journalists aware of this?
– could the blog post have been amended to prevent Clayton from losing his job?
– why was Clayton sacked for his comments on the state of print advertising after the Scotsman itself ran the story ‘Johnston Press hit by house market woes as property advertising slides’ on August 28?
Admittedly there’s no disclaimer on Clayton’s AMS blog – e.g. ‘the views expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of my employer’ etc etc – but nevertheless was this the right course of action for the Scotsman to take?
There’s nothing to stop a journalist from setting up their own personal blog or contributing in their professional capacity to another blog site – either as poster or commenter – and as the trend for doing so continues to grow more popular, will publishers start setting out stricter guidelines for what staff can and can’t say elsewhere?
Reactions like this and the idea of more stringent restrictions on where journalists can write online are counterproductive: letting journalists write, comment, engage and react with colleagues and readers online can help build an online community around them and their content, driving users back to the publisher’s site.
Spilling company secrets is one thing, but Clayton’s post was hardly exposing something that’s hidden from the rest of the newspaper industry.
Clayton has told me he’s contacted the National Union for Journalists (NUJ) (who haven’t got back to me either for that matter) – and I’ll be really interested to hear its stance on this: firstly, in reaction to the immediacy of his sacking; and more importantly, as to what this means for journalists working online, in multimedia and for multiple taskmasters.
“The simple fact was that we had no need of a website. It would have cost thousands of pounds to produce and wouldn’t have made an iota of difference to our business supplying the daily newspapers,” said Scott Douglas, founder of Deadline Press & Picture Agency.
The site made it into WordPress’ list of the 100 fastest growing blog sites on the platform at 94.
The blog has recorded 21,743 page impressions across 117 posts, while Deadline News TV has attracted 40,221 views for 40 videos as of August 5.
The agency has implemented a solution, harnessing the power of third-party websites, which is low cost, but high impact
“Our blog site immediately plugged a gap by allowing us to showcase our work every day – and reach an audience who may not otherwise see it. Our journalists and photographers still put in the old fashioned legwork to get pictures and stories. It can be frustrating when those are not picked up by the daily newspapers,” said Lauren Crooks, news editor with Deadline.
“Now we can ensure our stories, pictures and video reports will always find an audience.”
US political news and blog site Politico has recruited Newsday reporter Glenn Thrush, according to the site’s Ben Smith, who made the announcement of Thrush’s appointment in a blog post.
Thrush joins the site after five years at Newsday, where he began covering New York city hall before joining the title’s Washington bureau in 2005 to cover the US senate.