Following his comments at the Society of Editors (SoE) conference that suggestions that the media had caused the current banking crisis were ‘laughable’, BBC Business editor Robert Peston was questioned about his use of a blog on bbc.co.uk.
Peston said he wasn’t a ‘proper blogger’ insofar as he didn’t use his blog to speculate.
“I apply exactly the same standards of verification to a blog as I do to anything else I do,” he explained.
“I can do two things with a blog: I can get stuff out very quickly; but the most valuable thing about the blog if you work for an organisation like the BBC is that you can put out an amount of detail you can’t get in a three minute bulletin.”
The comments left by readers of the blog are ‘incredibly valuable’, as it can make you think about a story in a different way, he added.
“The great advantage of the blog is that you are constantly out there putting nuggets out that will give you stuff back and allow you to complete the story more quickly,” he said.
in the same conference session, Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, was less complimentary describing the downside of the blogosphere as ‘the lynchmob gone digital’.
Speaking with regards to the Madeleine McCann case, Mitchell said: “Where comment strays beyond the bounds of acceptability we will take action. Because story has engendered a degree of controversy and debate we have to cope with that on a daily basis.”
The case is still ‘very much ongoing’, according to Mitchell, and the McCanns see the media as partners in the search for their daughter when reporting is ‘fair and accurate’.
Settlements between the media and the McCanns and with friends they were holidaying with at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance now total more than £1 million, he said.
Mitchell also accused the British press in Portugal of being lazy at the time of the incident, choosing to sit in the local bar and turning to the Portugese media for leads.
“A quote from me and that was considered balanced journalism. Even when I said I didn’t have anything, front pages would duly appear,” he said.