Blogging Generally!
Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 4:01PM
Bill Barclay

With all the shemozzle over the last two weeks following the disclosure of Len Brown's peccadilloes by Cam Slater on Whaleoil, bloggers generally have come in for some strong censure by the mainstream media. Almost to a man or women, the messenger has been slammed, and in the case of 'Herald' attempts made to exonerate or at least mitigate the opprobrium levelled at Len.

I don't wish to get into the rights or wrongs of what happened, but I do think that the MSM are being petulant and self serving in trying to shift the blame on to Slater. He may well be accused of exercising too little discretion in failing to censor out some of the more egregious content of the famous affidavit, but other than that he only did what any good journalist should have done - check sources, and the veracity of the affidavit, and then run with it. No-one in public office should be immune from scrutiny - whether it be Graf, or Brown.

What concerns me is the slamming of the growth and content of blog posts generally. It is simply nonsense to accuse everyone who sees an opportunity to meet a demand for information outside of the MSM, and whose content is being accessed by a significant number of viewers, as being 'un-moderated' and 'un-professional'. 

Frankly, if standards that I and plenty of others apply were not effective in ensuring relative accuracy and relevance of content, then our blogs would simply not be read. I for one don't claim to have a wide readership - certainly nothing like the half milion who apparently now tune into Whaleoil - my blog rates about 900 hits a week  from a relatively small audience here in Thames - I don't seek for a wider audience with the majority of my posts, and I do endeavour to check accuracy within the limits of my resources.

But that is irrelevant in my view when the limited coverage of Council affairs in this District is taken into account. For the last twelve months the HH has attended one half day of meetings. Coro FM have attended none. The 'Waikato Times' came once for the fluoride hearing, and other than that, only Robert Jeffares (Valley FM) and I regularly attend meetings. What does that tell you about the standards of local journalism in this District? The local town news-sheets mainly publish information gleaned from hand-outs, and from interviewing their desks with the possible exception of the 'Informer".

I don't for one moment claim that everything I write is of Pulitzer quality, but it is an attempt to enlighten those who are interested in a view of the manner in which the Council is administered, and to provide information to which I believe rate-payers are entitled. I agree that most of the national blogs - some of which are tagged on this page provide an view that is generally biased towards the left or right wing of politics, but I don't consider that my blog reflects any such bias. Some will say that it is simply biased against the Council, but I don't believe that argument be sustained over the long haul.

As I have repeated on several occasions for the benefit of certain critics, there is no rule that says you have to read my blog. It represents my view and my view only, and I will continue to criticise, or praise as the case may be for the foreseeable future. As in the case of Whaleoil, and virtually all other blogs, and with the possible exception of Kiwiblog, it makes no money - it is simply a task that I enjoy.

I admire any blogger who is prepared to put their views on the line - and it is an area that is now receiving far greater recognition in the US and elsewhere. It is time the MSM in New Zealand grew up and realised that we are here to stay - we may be derided, but the reality is that we cannot be shut-out. If the MSM want respect, then it needs to pay far greater attention to providing information that readers want rather than sensationalist garbage, and provide far greater analysis of what is going on in City Hall in particular.

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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