I’ve enjoyed watching the web frenzy prompted by Andrew Marr’s comments about blogging.
A strong dose of blind irony and self-contradiction never fails to brighten my day.
Marr is clearly well up on his blogs, having read so many that their “spewings and rantings” seem to have bled into his style:

“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.”

Ouch. Say what you want about my writing but leave my vegetable features out of this.
The Internet community then outdid itself with a selection of responses, which vindicated Marr in splendid style.
My favourite of these was this splendid piece of journalism the power of which will surely have the fathers of the fourth estate shaking in their boots:

“Andrew Marr, however, is a bald, jug-eared, media whore whose pathetic and slavish devotion to NuLabour may or may not be influenced by his employment by the extortion-funded BBC and his marriage to Jackie Ashley, the raddled-looking harridan daughter of a life peer who writes for both The New Statesman and The Grauniad.”

The saddest thing about this piece was that it actually had some good points hiding beneath the bile – regarding the limitations of citizen journalists and the threat to commentators – but these were lost in a barrage of hate.
A Measured response came from Paul Bradshaw who wisely highlighted the shortcomings in Marr’s arguments by using his own words to trap him.
But my favourite comment was that of Adam Tinworth (who will soon be appearing at Cardiff University as part of the Online Journalism module).
Speaking on Twitter he simply said:

“You can do journalism on a blog, [Marr’s] making a massive category error. Blog = container, not activity”

I think this is completely true.
Journalism is a practise, it has less to do with where you are published and more to do with how you conduct yourself and the skill set you use.
My personal and professional goal is to produce work, which measures up to the standards set by my favourite journalists.
I don’t care whether I do this for a paper or for a blog.
What I am interested in is reaching the greatest number of people and if it’s blogging which allows me to achieve this then so be it.
I believe communication to be the essence of journalism and what you have to do is find the ‘container’, which will best facilitate this.

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