Terry Prone – Not a fan of bloggers or journos who blog

Some amazing alliteration as always.

in setting out to strengthen privacy legislation the government could hamstring legitimate media — which operate under guidelines, internal checks and balances, and have a capacity for educated caution which amounts to some form of self-censoring — while doing nothing to stop the venting of venomous bilge that constitutes the bulk of what’s euphemistically dubbed “citizen journalism”

It must be said, however, that the openness of journalists to examine all sides of possible legislation is currently complicated by their promiscuous fascination with internet-based offerings.

You don’t get orthopaedic surgeons doing knee replacements in their leisure time without charge. Yet you get journalists writing blogs for nothing, their urge for self-expression obscuring the fact that they are undermining their own employers.

25 Responses to “Terry Prone – Not a fan of bloggers or journos who blog”

  1. I loved this bit…

    “I randomly Googled a public figure. The third hit accused
    accused him of using a term which, were I to repeat it here
    and name the individual, would cost this newspaper a goodly
    chunk of dosh.”

    So, it being a quiet Sunday, I checked the cabinet (though not the junior ministers), the Fine Gael front bench, half a dozen RTE “personalities” like Gerry Ryan, Tubridy, Joe Duffy, Gaybo… I tried the obviously controversial like Michael McDowell, Hookie, Dunphy, Jackie Healy Rae, Jim McDaid, Noel O’Flynn. Hell, I even tried Bono. Not a sausage.

    Free pint to whoever can tell me who and what Terry Prone is talking about.

    Anyway, I’m off to do my part in undermining my employers.

  2. Niall says:

    “Free pint to whoever can tell me who and what Terry Prone is talking about. ”

    Since when has that woman ever made sense?

  3. Ken Stanley says:

    Yes, because we all know that traditional print journalism “have a capacity for educated caution”

    I didn’t bother reading after that but I get the gist of it.

  4. UnaRocks says:

    I disagree with Prone’s article overall but she makes a good point about online libel:

    “Internet blogs, noticeboards and chat rooms can and do print information about individuals which is libellous and invasive of their privacy, and their victims can do little to prevent the ongoing destruction of their reputation or achieve personal compensation for its loss.”

    Should you be allowed sue a message board or website if they libel you? I would imagine that anyone who does try to do so is smacked with a ‘free speech’ punch, along with other complexities about the lack of legislation to regulate online journalistic content, but everyone is entitled to not have false information/ accusations attached to them, no?

  5. Niamh says:

    So the bulk of blogging is ‘venomous bilge’? Few bloggers would make such unfair generalisations about ‘legitimate’ journalists.

  6. “Internet blogs, noticeboards and chat rooms can and do print information about individuals which is libellous and invasive of their privacy”

    Blogs, noticeboards and chatrooms are hardly alone in this. How many newspapers printed pictures of Michael Dwyer this weekend? How many newspapers asked for copyright permission before lifting those pictures from Bebo or Flickr? How many will have to print complaints if his family complain to the Press Ombudsman?

    “Should you be allowed sue a message board or website if they libel you?”

    Yes. And what is more, you are allowed to.

    ” I would imagine that anyone who does try to do so is smacked with a ‘free speech’ punch”

    Tell it to the judge. He’ll explain patiently that free speech is not speech without consequences. The right to say what you want does not diminish the right of anyone else to seek redress if you damage their reputation.

    In short, publishing on the internet is not a protection from actions for defamation. Bloggers may not be marks, but they’re still liable for what they write.

  7. Niall says:

    The down side of this can be seen if you head over to boards.ie and read about the steps those gobshites at MCD took to prevent free speech.

  8. @Una A free speech punch does not exist, libel laws do.

    @Niall The boards.ie thing is not MCD shutting boards.ie down or blocking MCD discussion, Boards decided to block all talk of MCD. There has yet to be a Court case over this.

  9. Gamma Goblin says:

    This is just another case of journalist slowly realising that they don’t own a monopoly on opinion. I guess it must suck to see your profession becoming irrelevant in the world today. It’s probably for the best though, IMHO.

  10. @Damien The Boards.ie/MCD saga is a textbook example of the chilling effect of litigation.

  11. Niall says:

    Damien, was it not the case that Boards.ie took the decision to block talk of MCD in response to threats of legal action if they continued to allow its users discuss their failings? I assume that Boards.ie would not have taken such steps had they not received legal advice to the effect that MCD had a case.

  12. […] Terry Prone doesn’t like me. […]

  13. For the record, my own thoughts on the subject: Flak Attack at http://faduda.ie/?p=1052

    And in case you’re wondering, I’m still wondering who is accused of unsavory speech in their third google hit.

  14. CiaránMac says:

    This is in the same category as John Waters’ rant during Picturegate, or Kevin Macdonald’s baseless comments in his Sunday Times interview plugging State of Play. It occurred to me that the biggest change happening as a result of everyone having the ability to share opinions, quickly, with a large number of other people, is that it makes the traditional PR guru’s job much more challenging. It must be very hard to control, manage, bury or spin a bad news story now. Terry isn’t doing herself any favours by complaining about new methods instead of learning how to use them. Who knows what happened Nixon in 1960?

  15. @CiaránMac you echo the point I just made in my daily blog.

    It occurs to me that blogging is treated as something completely new, simply because the technology is new. Anyone who is interested in how blogs might evolve should consider studying what happened when mass printing became cheap and cheerful in the middle ages. Suddenly, information wasn’t just the preserve of elites and merchnant classes. All those blog^H^H^H^H pampleteers like Swift and Thomas Paine spawned an industry. Newspapers, I think the newfangled information distributions systems were called. Who knows, maybe the HuffPost has the right idea.

    @Gamma Goblin, sorry, but news isn’t going to go away. Only the medium will change.

  16. Gamma Goblin says:

    @Gerard… News? When did I say anything about news? I’m talking about opinionated writing. You really think people are going to continue to pay for reading opinion? Really?

  17. @Gamma: Yes, I do. Columnists are no different to bloggers, and the web is littered with zombie blogs. Both attract readers or die. And there is a demand for both. What I suspect worries a lot of columnists is, people aren’t willing to pay for just any old opinion. But go into any bookstore or newsagent, and you’ll see opinion still sells, if it’s well argued and hits a nerve.

  18. Simon McGarr says:

    Re UnaRocks comment “other complexities about the lack of legislation to regulate online journalistic content,”

    Same legislation applies as on journalistic content printed on paper. Do have some form of non-statutory regulation in mind?

  19. Concubhar says:

    I think journalists who blog should be encouraged – far from undermining their employers, they are in effect working for free. It’s only ‘undermining’ employers when the employer becomes anal about employees expressing opinion which might run counter to their own agendas. Employers like the BBC, RTE are positively anal on this subject, so protective are they of their supposed ‘objectivity’.

    As Terry Prone is a signed up member of the commentariat who are on call at RTE 24/7 to express an opinion on weighty – and trivial – matters – at a not insubstantial cost no doubt to the licence payer – perhaps people like Terry feel their monopoly on public opinion – and a nice little earner it is too, as well as being a handy way of promoting one’s others business interests through name recognition – is under threat from the rise of citizen journalists. After all if any Citizen can express an opinion – and they do so for nothing – where does that leave the likes of Terry who are paid to express an opinion?

    I’m glad to see Damien make a breakthrough into that world and wish him well – it’s good to hear a voice, familiar to me and others in the blogosphere – make the crossover so successfully that it signals, I think perhaps naively, that more and more bloggers will feature in ‘the mainstream’ media in the future.

    Until that is the ‘alternative’ media becomes the mainstream and the mainstream becomes the alternative, a process which is advancing rapidly as more and more traditional media outlets come under threat due to the sudden fall off in advertising revenue….

    As for this spurious claim that anything goes in the blogosphere and that it’s a playground for libellers etc, that’s a reflection on the lack of insight and informed opinion there is out there. As in other media there are irresponsibile bloggers – but in my opinion the interactive nature of blogging, as well as the capacity to keep on record everything that’s said, means that it’s a far better forum for the exchange of opinions and news.

  20. @Concubhar: It might come as news to some, but journalists aren’t huge fans of working for free. ‘We want you to blog on our website’ is usually – and correctly – seen as a demand to work for nothing, something that doesn’t impress working reporters, particularly when it turns out they will not only have to produce articles for the blog, but self sub their own comments, sub comments from commenters, and act as moderators.

    Newspaper editors, if you want journalists to blog for you, then pay them for it, and provide proper support to handle subbing and moderation. Don’t think of it as an expense, but as an investment in developing a new cadre of potential columnists from your reporters pool.

    Freelances like myself are in some respects a special case. I posted recently (http://faduda.ie/?p=1052) on some of my reasons for blogging. And that said, I’d happily drop my private blog for a paid gig.

    I doubt Terry Prone has too much to worry about though. I don’t see bloggers taking over her gigs on Pat Kenny/Drivetime/Marian Finucane any time soon. My guess is the prospects of panels of inexperienced contributors fills most producers with horror. Worst case scenario, unlistenable radio with a weekly review of current events panel to be made up of Joe Duffy contributors. Some of them will probably want to sing their funny songs.

    Good luck to Damien, but many bloggers will remain outside the mainstream for a long time to come. This is true for the same reasons as in old media: Some people just don’t perform that well on radio, and some just don’t get invited. Some of this has been attributed to snobbery. Count how many times a week Fintan O’Toole shows up somewhere. Then pick a few columnists at random from a redtop, and see how rarely they are heard on the airwaves.

  21. Loving the debate going on here, no one liners at all really, thank you everyone.

    @Gerard In relation to the regulars, I actually get a good deal of calls from RTE and other stations asking for names of people to go on. New people. There are issues with finding people to go on, sometimes at insanely short notice. I do think that we could have a better rang of people on radio and TV and even in print if people let the producers of these shows know who they are. Resources a lot of the time mean producers can’t get new people on. However, there is that snobbery and mates element too. I do believe though that the regulars and same old frowning faces issue will change soon. Stay tuned!

  22. @Damien: does that mean I should forward you my number? 🙂

  23. Adrian says:

    “How dare you write something for free? Don’t you know you’re making the rest of us look mercenary?”

    Could that sum up Terry’s approach?

  24. @Adrian: For many reporters, it’s more a case of ‘don’t you know you’re costing the rest of us are trying to make a living’. And it’s not just bloggers. I know people who want to be journalists and who are so desperate to see their name in print they will give stories to newspapers for free.