Friday, July 3, 2009

Blast Away

I was reading over at Reflections (since that is the name of the biggest pink triangle bar in Halifax, in honour of Ferry Tales, I'm only going to call Megan's blog Reflections from now on, so that Ferry Tales knows that the straights love her too), and got moved on over to this interesting bit of blogishness:

The Man Who Hates The Inuvik Drum Like It Was The Devil

It is a fun read, maybe not for you, but for me to be sure. See, I used to work for the parent corp of the Inuvik Drum, and Mr Halifax tends to call these people out by name (he follows this blog, so I'll call him Mister ;)). It is inside baseball, but I'm on the inside. When he names a name, I usually have an idea who he is talking about

There is a blog on PEI that is taking the same sort of tactic with the local media, the now infamous NJN Network. There are huge differences, like:

-- Mr Halifax doesn't seem to fear women. NJN continues to trash the work of a local journalist based on her red raincoat and high heels. As I have said before, if I run into NJN Network on vacation, I'll go put on my red raincoat and high heels, to make a point.

-- Mr Halifax doesn't seem to have been threatened by the local paper. NJN has been threatened with legal action from The Guardian.

-- Mr Halifax comes up with meaner fake names for the reporters involved.

-- Mr Halifax manages to get responses from thin-skinned editorial types, while NJN Network gets letters from lawyers. Maybe it is a NWT vs PEI type of thing?

Mr Halifax is not NJN Network. Mr Halifax is mean, but not really offensive or particularly deluded. I link to Halifax, I don't link to NJN (in my sidebar at least).

Aside from pointing and shouting "Hey, over there, look at those awesome car wrecks", there is a point here, the rise of the semi-pro media critic. I bet there is one for every paper in Canada at this point. I could even point to a certain employer rating site that has some pretty one sided comments about my employer.

Journalists are like any other profession, we get the good and the bad and the indifferent. I watch Howard Kurtz every Sunday. If you are writing a media criticism blog and don't know who Howard is, you need a new hobby.

These blogs are at least as legitimate as a letter to the editor, and have the advantage of not having the comments put through a filter.

However; when you are reading them, be sure to give them the weight you would to a letter to the editor. Consider the source, consider the point of view, ignore the inflammatory language, and take it for what is worth, the opinion of a single individual, as noble and flawed as the rest of us.

For the semi-pro media critics, I only have one bit of advice. Drop the fake names for yourselves, the papers and the reporters. If you want to trash someone, at least make it clear. The cute pseudonyms are tiring.

As for my former colleagues at NNSL, I have some simple advice.


There is no need to respond to these blogs, and thinly veiled attacks from proxies aren't worth the hassle. Do what the Guardian did, ignore it until it is libel. Then get a lawyer.

Really, go to NJNNetwork, look under the PEI section, and click the link that says The Guardian. If Mr Halifax is getting under your collective skins this badly, imagine what it would be like with a determined soapboxer like that on your ass.

I'll keep reading, but then again, I like the sound of sirens ;0