Monday, 18 February 2008

Journalistic integrity ftw!

Off to Paris first thing tomorrow at the behest of a major French telco that is, to put it politely, on the rocks after a disastrous merger with an American firm. This is a conference for their business partners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and my mission is to get a positive story out of it, as my contacts with these guys are very friendly people and I don't like laying into them. Some might say I don't have the heart and soul of a true journalist, but at least I got my job through hard graft and unpaid labour, and not because my daddy does freelancing for the Guardian.

Actually, I have been following the sorry saga of Max Gogarty, the skinny jeaned blogger (and sometime Skins webisode writer) of Muswell Hill and the vitriol he provoked among the Guardianistas on the message boards. The travel editor's response, complete with (possibly fake) whining from the boy's travel hack father, is here. Both are hugely entertaining reads but both have raised my hackles a bit.

Everyone in the blogosphere has weighed in on this one now, but what the hell, I want to join in! Firstly, I agree with the overall sentiment that the Guardian has abandoned its northern-focused, socialist remit and instead writes primarily for middle class liberals like myself. Not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing, but Max's blog is certainly a symptom of this.

Secondly, the blog was terrible, badly written juvenilia that - before it was canned - chronicled the most boring white middle class ritual of all; the boring gap year in Goa and Thailand. I have a Facebook account and I see quite enough self-satisfied accounts of boring trips to tropical beaches to be going on with without having to resort to the national press. Now, if Max had been disabled, or Asian and travelling to Asia for the first time, or travelling with his grandma, it could have been interesting. As it was it was just clearly going to be about full moon parties and drugs. None of this, however, is Max's fault, and you can't really begrudge him the experience, however banal it seems. Fault lies with the Guardian's travel editor for commissioning and publishing such donkey excreta.

As for the trumped up nepotism charges, well, where to start? Saddam Hussein was a nepotist. Max and Paul Gogarty are nothing of the kind. The world is built on contacts and social networks. If I could lean on a contact, family or otherwise, to get me into the Guardian, then I would fucking do it and hang what the cretinous nitwits on the messageboards think. I did in fact use someone else's contact to get my first unpaid work experience in journalism and I do not regret it for an instant. Contacts and networking are why some of us are senior reporters or airline pilots at 25, and some of us spout shit on the interwebs. I do both, by the way*

Anyway, I would gladly buy Max a pint and tell him not to dump his plans to be a journo just because his first commissioning editor fucked up.

Also, I have no problem with Max's tight jeans, skinny or slim cut or otherwise. Although I find that below the knee, the seams tend to twist without any real reason in a way that they never did when I wore bootcut or (ick) flares.

* I don't fly a plane, but I do regularly spout shit online.

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