Tuesday 8 February 2011

Editor throws down challenge to critical blogger

Croydon Advertiser editor Glenn Ebrey has written an open letter to local blogger Inside Croydon - who has described the paper as "patronising, tired and dull" - challenging them to spend a day in the editorial office.

Ebrey writes on the Croydon Advertiser's website: "The growth of blogging has given rise to what has been termed ‘citizen journalism’.

"First of all, let me say I’m all for this. Bloggers stimulate debate, provoke thought and, though I probably shouldn’t say this, they are often freer to say what they really think than newspapers working more tightly within the rules and regulations imposed by the PCC and the laws of libel.

"One particular website has been brought to my attention in recent months – Inside Croydon.

There is no disputing it makes for a lively read but, when it comes to the local newspapers (especially us) Mr Insider doesn’t just have a chip on his shoulder, he seems to have the full portion with ketchup and vinegar thrown in for good measure.

In the introductory blurb on the site, Mr Insider refers our coverage as “puerile or patronising” and “tired and dull”. I’ve had better reviews.

Fair enough though – everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, The Insider’s latest missive about our Parking Mad campaign is a source of particular annoyance largely because, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s a load of old codswallop.

Firstly, he continually describes us as the Croydon S-Advertiser, which must have taken a whole 30 seconds to think up. No chance of a job on the subs desk with lame puns like that.

Then, he goes on to criticise us for daring to start a campaign (a successful campaign, I might add) against Croydon Council’s parking proposals. If we hadn’t bothered with a campaign, we probably would have been criticised for that too. Isn’t campaigning what all good local newspapers should be doing?

Next, we are slammed for having the cheek to report documents we obtained before their official publication. Isn’t that just good journalism Mr Insider?

The mystery blogger also suggests we have an “increasingly small circulation”. Last time I checked, our papers were distributed to more than 100,000 people a week. That sounds like a pretty captive audience to me.

I have no idea who Mr Insider is because, despite being so forthright in his views, he very bravely decides to remain anonymous.

But, if you are reading this, I’d like to put forward a challenge to you Mr Insider. Come and spend a day in our office, see how hard our reporters work, the dedication and hours they put into producing the paper each week, and see if it changes your view."

  • It is believed Inside Croydon is the work of someone who used to supply freelance copy to the Advertiser's website.
  • Inside Croydon has responded to the Croydon Advertiser editor.


Hobson said...

Never understood why so many bloggers are obsessed with moaning about their local paper, although a lot of them do turn out to be former hacks themselves, which may explain it.

Enlightened 1 said...

Comments (blogs) whatever, draw attention to some point which indicates that to someone it is of concern and by whom believed there are possibly others out there who may feel the same.

That applies whether it is negative, or positive. However, for some quirk of human nature, there are always more people stirred by the negative, than the positive, both in voicing it, and reading it.

Media in general has always made full use of this element in human behaviour. So we must live with it.

The redeeming feature is that in these days, when the facilities for
this self-expression by the mass are for ever increasing, and made more facile, a certain immunity to effect upon emotions is seeping in.

This ensures, to some extent, that only comment which has some degree of substance, and perceived 'truth' behind it, gets through, and is retained for possible further action.

The biggest enemy of free speech in a democracy is in the editing, which includes the biased selecting
of opposing opinion. It can be just as effective in suppressing disagreement, and genuine complaint, as with total censorship attributed, by, so called 'democracies', to 'regimes'.