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30 January 2006

Ringing Emily's bell

Methinks Ms Bell's Guardian comments indicate just how much education of staffers and editors actually is needed.

If Ms Bell understood the issues, she would understand the Code. Her piece also, to my mind, indicates that she is more than a little out of touch with the PCC code, which The Guardian should observe.

Witn/less contributors, by the way, are just one example of the genus. Bloggers are another. So are journal-ists; those who keep diaries online. Samuel Pepys must be spinning. "Personal journalists" is yet another description that can be found in print. I think my current total of different sub-species is about a dozen. I'm trying to pull together a proposal so David Attenborough can fully document this particular form of wildlife.

Ms Bell misrepresents the WC Code of Practice. Bloggers are covered by the clauses that re-iterated the NUJ Code of Conduct, the PCC and similar codes that call for "fact" and "speculation" to be clearly identified. That should be all.

Syndication is permitted entirely, as long as appropriate payments are made. Rights are mentioned in the NUJ Code of Practice, not copyright, because journalists have more rights in their work than just copyright.

If publishers want to undermine their credibility with a "Wiki" approach, then they are free to do so. Like so much blogging, the concept is already discredited and does not deserve to be taken seriously. Publishers and editors who mistakenly believe a future lies with "product" that no one can believe, or should believe, have a right to a slow and painful death, it is just a pity that we have to be taken along with them.

Regular readers of Ms Bell's column should not be surprised by her comments.

I came away from last week's Roundtable event feeling very old. Apart from Bill Hagerty, I think I may well have been the oldest there. The largely young contingent representing The Guardian did not seem to have seen a broader picture, or the "fanzine revolution" of the 70s, when Letraset and cheap photocopying caused many similar concerns as those we are seeing today. Their (lack of ) appreciation of history and their proximity to what they are doing worries me.

If anyone saw my response to the blog of the event, I was also very concerned about being reported in a way that a "proper" journalist would never have been allowed to do.

Which brings me to the question of how much do I believe The Guardian? The answer to that is far less than I used to. Does anyone else think that credibility is an issue?

Excuse me, but I have to go and buy another couple of tons of salt; I've been going through a lot recently.

(c) Adam Christie 2006; All rights reserved


At 9:02 am, Blogger Neil said...

Adam - I'm a member of the NUJ, and am also unhappy with the code of conduct. I think it shows a serious lack of understanding of issues on which the NUJ needs to take a much more informed approach. Your inadequate response to criticism underlines the lack of thought on the union's part.

So: what can I, as a union member with knowledge of the area in question, do to get this silly code withdrawn?

At 1:09 am, Blogger Donnacha DeLong said...

Neil, what about doing what any member of democratic organisation should do - turn up at a meeting and have your say. If you don't feel you've had your say so far, then complain to your elected representatives, particularly your NEC rep who voted to accept this.


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