Today's post was meant to be a lovely Christmas cheer number where I showed you all my black & white decorated Christmas tree. Might I just add how handy a Net-A-Porter ribbon is in a b&w theme!
But instead this might be the longest dullest issues based post known to the blogosphere. And all because of twitter! Now I could in my usual fashion, suck it in and refrain from even thinking about it. However I feel quite strongly that people do not have the right to 'shout' at you on twitter. The relevant bit being the 'at you'. To qualify, if I tweet rude words and do any name calling then in fairness the recipient or any member of the twitter community I offend can call me all the names under the sun back. I've managed to cause offence twice before on my blog posts by daring to hold views and believe me it is never intentional, in my head I think I'm debating, interrogating a subject matter.
In this instance I was most certainly not looking to be anything other than convivial. When I tweet about #xfactor then the tonality varies from witty to downright mean - in the context of the programme. For example I might/do take offence to Cher's dog lifts, a lot of the styling and 'Soyman'. Cheryl has provided great fodder with her use of the word 'dignity' and on Saturday night my best tweet ever didn't happen due to momentary internet malfunction when I lost my connection for 3 minutes. My best XFactor tweet ever was 'Rhianna get your hands off yourself & get them on Matt #xfactor' If you watched the programme you'll know what I mean. If you didn't Rhianna sang a duet with Matt but her stage entrance was more concerned with her running her hands up and down her front and dangerously within her 'front bottom'. Sorry for such sexual coyness.
Anyway yesterday I saw a tweet from Liberty London Girl which seemed very interesting and was on an article written by India Knight for The Sunday Times. The title of which was 'Poverty of desire keeps Oxbridge white and middle class'.
This was the tweet
i almost got whiplash from nodding along vigorously as I read @indiaknight 's ST column today http://bit.ly/gGoUvO [paywall]
This was my tweet
@LibertyLndnGirl @indiaknight Would love to read it, hope it is in paper as obv won't pay/can't pay for ST online - sent out for newspaper
The response was (and can I just say I wasn't expecting a response as in my head my tweet was literal)
@MakeDoStyle but why not?
@LibertyLndnGirl Oh it is a Murdoch step too far even for me who doesn't care about these matters. Am v much a newspaper in hand/print gal!
@MakeDoStyle I cldn;'t disagree more.ONline does not equal free. who the hell do you think pays the journalists?
Then this general tweet appeared from LLG
FED up to back teeth with paywall haters. gd journalism costs money. Online does not = free
@LibertyLndnGirl Oh am not a hater, just like a newspaper, believe me my parents won't have sky as it is Murdoch, I'm ambivalent
For those of you who did buy the Sunday Times and were interested in the article it was on page 26 of the main paper. It wasn't a bad read. I thought many of the points were valid but it is by nature being columnist piece a rather large subject to any real justice too. Whatever is said is by its nature going to be simplistic in a piece of copy limited to x number of words.
The whole Oxbridge debate is enormous and complex. It is not just an issue of class or race but includes moral and political views and of course acknowledgement of the worth of academia. Oxford and Cambridge have a specific culture and this is not necessarily based on academic merit. It is not always in the top 3 or 5 on certain subjects due to poor teaching and teaching support. Yet both universities hold an enigmatic hold upon aspiration and worth. For some their mere attendance guarantees a standing in society regardless of anything other than the completion of their degree.
The danger of hierarchy is the fact it creates worth. I come from a family of two halves, one wealthy one poor. The wealthy family gave me an inheritance (not a large on lest you think otherwise although had I known about stocks and shares the MDS story may have been different) at the age of 21, a job for school hols at the paper they owned before it was sold to the Northcliffe group and a very successful and famous editor of a national newspaper as a godfather. It also determined my religious upbringing and despite this side of my family being very much part of the establishment they were also anti-establishment due to religion (Catholicism) and their socialist views.
My other family was very poor but massively pro education and also motivated by equality and socialism. The thrust of my upbringing was education frees you. You are free if you are well educated. My grandmother was a cleaner to pay for my father to go to university. My father was not allowed afforded the opportunity to apply to Oxbridge due to lack of income, despite his uncle's attendance at Oxford ( who was a famous Welsh writer who only attended university due to a miner's scholarship) My other great uncles died in the mines or at the front on the Spanish Civil War.
When my parents married they were assimilating two aspects of Welsh society in respect of wealth, but sharing a common social based philanthropic view of people bettering themselves and having every opportunity regardless of anything.
Now, if you are not yawning heavily at this the point due to my introspective post, the purpose of it, is to give you a background to the Murdoch remark in my tweets. I will freely admit to being a fickle chooser of causes and although I am strongly for fairness and equity on every level, I have despite many views of others and the fact my mum and dad won't buy a Murdoch paper or have Sky, happily do both. Nothing annoys my parents more but equally causes them to laugh when I suggest that the discovery of penicillin is nothing compared to the invention of Sky+.
One of the things I have learned over the years is if someone takes offence to what you say , then try to either rectify it or understand. Put yourself in someone else's shoes is something I try to do even if I favour the two fingers approach as a gut reaction.
Luckily for LLG I was in my post Christmas tree decoration hiatus, and prior to giving in to petit garcon's skateboarding demands. Because quite frankly I have no idea where the twitter rage/assault came from. I have to confess to mainly sniggering. It was quite frankly hilarious. I'm not sure if I was lumped in with the 'haters' but blimey must have touched a nerve. I don't like causing anyone to feel in a corner or defensive unless I'm challenging vindictive or nasty behaviour. However when someone get hoity toity and adopts hierarchical 'keeping the peasants' in order language you've got to laugh or have a stiff drink.
What is my view on paying for the Times online. Well quite frankly a business decision to adopt a model that generates income for the company is nothing to do with good journalism. I could add and I will, although it will sound or rather read quite piqued, since when have articles on the Mayr Clinic been good journalism? Also a column is writing not journalism. A paper relies upon a mix of journalism and contributing writers who may or may not be journalists by trade. Journalism was as a trade predicated upon discourse, investigation and reporting about stories. Lifestyle journalism and sports journalism are by products of the profession or trade that primarily concerned itself with news. I know I was schooled in these matters from an early age.
Journalism like any area of life has adapted, grown and expanded its remit and perspective. In this country you can still only be a newsreader if you hold an NCTJ qualification ( I do and have read the news once on radio!) but many people become journalists by experience on magazines, in a freelance capacity and by chance!
To be honest I find the whole hierarchical nature of anything regarding ones profession something for me to revolt against - I blame my upbringing m'lord. I would never question or query ones journalistic capability. I'm more than impressed and inspired by the blogosphere's egalitarian nature to give all and sundry the opportunity and freedom to write, to be journalists in whatever format.
Paying for online content from a newspaper is a choice. One is free to pay or to not. I think it is step too far to expect the Times Online pricing model to currently be worth engaging with. When you can buy the Sunday Times for £2.20 and read numerous articles and news stories at your leisure and away from the sodding computer screen plus irritate anyone in the vicinity with paper rustling then how does the online comparison compare? It took years to get SMS and MMS to work and at the right price in the mobile industry.
If I look at it logically it is an attempt to move printing towards the future - where we have an ipad or similar delivery pipe in our hands that we read from. Who can forget the fact newspaper printing was moved on in the mid 198os to the horror of many a small town evening newspaper proprietor. The impact of this and of course now the impact of the internet has been at the detriment of good investigative journalism. The sort of good journalism people define as reporting on local issues, or investigating corruption/bad practice at a local level. After all the national corruption of the MPs expense scandal took many many months to uncover and actually the national that broke with it got lucky due a good source.
Given my families very strong moral and political views and moving and shaking I am the breakaway one (amongst my siblings and cousins) who has followed her creative heart. The rest are all in the law, accountancy, engineering, teaching and business, oh and handily the DVLA! Like a good Welsh girl I married into another Welsh family (although quite frankly this was by chance as we both lived in England,). Regardless of both families politics/views we share one common bond a healthy disregard for the English class system. As they say in Wales 'there's posh' if anyone gets above their station in life.
So in response to the 'who you hell do you think pays the journalists' - the payroll department.