Archives for posts with tag: Andrew Marr

Adam Tinworth’s lecture provided a convincing answer to the questions about what blogs should and shouldn’t be, which were dredged up by the Andrew Marr debacle.

Striking the balance between objectivity and readability can be hard particularly on a personal blog. However Mr Tinworth’s 4 point system is an easy way of overcoming this stumbling block.

Pointing to the medium’s birth as the Weblog Mr Tinworth said how blogging is all about interacting with your audience, taking part in a conversation which is flexible and involving.

He said that the format most conducive to this is as follows:

  1. Content – Something you find interesting and wish to share with the world. This can be a link, a photo, a video, a piece of music, anything which will capture peoples imagination.
  2. Context – Provide some illuminating background to what you have posted. This should grab and hold your audience by enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the content.
  3. Discussion – Possibly the most difficult aspect of blogging but one of the most important. You need to stimulate the conversation by drawing people into the issues and making them consider the facts. Though this may require playing devils advocate it is not about pinning your colours to the mast.
  4. Opinion – Lastly, because it is least important, you put forward your opinion on the issue. This gives character to your post providing it with a human element to which people will relate. This will develop the discussion and perpetuate the conversation.

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.