Saturday, April 14, 2007

So that's how they decide what's news

Establishing a rapport

Will any of these soirees be held outside London?

Then you could add one more to the two (so far) visiting here (at least in print. You can add you and your Mum as 'clickers-on') online, and the fifty you met in person t'other night.

It would be a shame to find the thoughts of our nation's journalists are shaped, even if ever so slightly, by such a limited sample of the blogosphere, much less the population.

ADDENDUM - my comment provoked a retort from one of the 'in' crowd, it seems.

I must brush up on my Vogon poetry

Oo-er. As this was a post on the craft of blogging, despite being invited to comment, and assuming this thread by being in the public domain is not... yet... 'club' members only, I must pen... key this carefully. It is all too often that a stray word in print without the benefit of tone can be... unkindly taken and not as intended, so going flaming downhill. Hence my being frustrated at an inability to share live and in person with '50 "consumers" asking questions and voicing their own opinions about what all we Telegraph bloggers collectively produce'. I do trust the author, upon his return, will appreciate I was simply trying to be kind enough to visit and, better yet, offer some feedback, if purely personal and possibly subjective.

I'd like to think I do try to be scrupulously fair, but how what I write gets taken can often be out of my hands. However looking back I do believe that I simply asked a question (which remains unanswered) and made a mild observation. In fact this all may be moot depending on the answer, which I was indeed trying to to offer an opinion upon, and it may be that a regional roadshow is envisaged. That it started in London is of course more than logical in the circumstances.

It is tremendous that many who attended did so from outside our fair capital and, indeed, country. Lucky also, and very committed, that they had the resources of time and money (return fares, overnight accommodation) to do so.

It could justifiably be argued that if one cares enough to share in such things one needs to make the effort. However, as the subject of what's fair has been raised, Douglas Adams did create a neat opening to the Hitchhikers Guide on this very point. Sorry, but I still have this odd notion that journalism is as much about going out and finding a story as having it handed to one. This is a nice initiative, certainly better than nothing, and plays well to the 'we're listening' audience, but if it stays 'centric' it can also offer opportunity to those with the wherewithal to make the most such an arrangement. Activists & lobbyists spring to mind. Now, where would they mostly be based or have easy access to? Is it too much to presume that the blogospshere, which already seems to have its more 'respected', 'influential' and even 'distinguished' representatives to court, is not a rich seam to exploit? More so for its image of independence and freedom from being part of the media 'in-crowd' that inhabits, inevitably, a certain capital city a long way from where I happen to live and work, if online (which is why I surf and blog a lot, see:)

I have lost count of the number of journalistic pieces lately that, IMHO, have poorly reflected the rest of the country, especially in the blog, commentary or viewpoint sections. How many were there surrounding the road pricing scheme wondering what all the fuss was about, as the bike ride from the Thameside des res, or bus/tube/taxi trip from the Islington pied a terre really renders even a Prius unnecessary?

Equally, I have almost lost count of the number of special 'invitations' from the public and private sector I have had in my area of interest (the environment, in case you hadn't guessed) to take part in some get-together where 'my views are valued and will shape policy for years to come', but come with a price tag in time and money that I simply cannot afford. Usually, these are located in London.

So I am afraid that, even though bias was not a word I used as it has yet to ne proven to apply, it is always possible that if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and is held in Ducktown, there may be a slight danger that the potential GI from local Mallards may influence, ever so slightly, the possible GO produced by those working for the Daily Duck.

If I may end by repeating my question (I do gather at least one poster is an organiser, which makes out of three others so far two with questions, and one contented attendee): to have the opportunity of ensuring that a relatively (noting that nothing will ever be truly representative as me getting off my derriere and making a 30-50 mile trip is an unlikely commitment by most of the public at large, even the Telegraph-reading variety) well-rounded selection of contacts are made and views garnered from the four corners of the country this national paper serves, are there any plans to host future such events elsewhere?

No problem if not. I will simply view what I get presented bearing in mind where and from whom it is generated.

Pleased to meet you

Is this a private conversation?

A few blogs over, one of your colleagues has quipped 'As print reporters, we always joke that the only people who read our bylines are ourselves and our mums'. It seems there may be, Yoda-style, 'another'.

It may help if the rest of us were let in on who the heck you are talking about as you muse out loud.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Please - no Vogon poetry or I'll stop reading your blog!!