Articles posted by Iain Hepburn


Recent Comments

Paying for the future

Ian, Georg - you're absolutely right, thanks for flagging up the transposition.

14 Apr 2012 - 10:24 A triumph for social media (in Glasgow!)

If not all traditional media is scared of questioning itself, why did it take the Guardian so long to cover a story that RTC and many other sports bloggers had been doing so for months - if not years.

Indeed, where then is Guardian Scottish football writer Ewan Murray's lengthy exposes on the Rangers financial situation, if they were so ahead of the curve.

Nobody's denying the RTC blog's sterling efforts - indeed, I named it as my media of the year on this very site last year - but I'm not sure the Guardian deserves excessive praise for running a blog piece six days into the latest developments of a story it itself had ignored for months....

21 Feb 2012 - 11:39
Top Gear cussing embarrasses BBC

Top Gear cussing embarrasses BBC

Is that the same BBC that happily broadcasts, uncensored and unbleeped, post-watershed language during its mid-afternoon BBC1 repeats of Only Fools and Horses just before Christmas?

Strange there's no uproar over that, yet Top Gear - an evening entertainment show on a minority channel - is a source of 'embarrassment'.

15 Feb 2012 - 11:39

BBC Scotland bosses face Holyrood ire

Hmm. Perhaps Holyrood could explain then how it intends BBC Scotland to sustain staffing levels when it topslices £75m a year off the licence fee - cuts which will undoubtedly be passed down to PQ - to fund the Scottish Digital Network.

1 Feb 2012 - 13:28

One more time; Roses for Rangers Tax blog and raspberries for Roy Greenslade

@ams Hi Anne

Thanks for your comments. Sorry if you feel I'm an enemy of Scottish journalism - I'd like to think the one thing I've consistently tried to do, both here and elsewhere, is celebrate and defend the industry where necessary, but if I've not done enough then I can only apologise.

If those who hide behind keyboard anonymity are not journalists, then what does that make the investigative hacks who use fake bylines to protect their identity? Surely you would not argue they aren't real journalists because they're not easily identifiable? Or the folk who write the In The Back pages of the Eye from within their industry, offering a level of insight into fields that would not necessarily be covered in depth?

There seems to have been an unusual level of resentment at the blogger's work though in the media, which was disappointing to see.

It's all sadly reminiscent of the row around the old Night Jack blog, which won the Orwell a couple of years ago and then saw its author outed by the Times. The idea that anyone who wants to protect their identity because of what their writing has any less validity than anyone else seems bizarre, to be honest.

What the RTC blog did was force a lot of journalists who'd - whether though ignorance or choice - avoided a serious examination of the state of Rangers' finances to look more thoroughly at the club's books.

And while I agree entirely that I don't expect hacks to have an intimate knowledge of tax and finance law - in fact, I don't believe I ever said they should in my piece above - there's nothing to stop them calling up or getting advice from someone who has. If a reporter was writing a science story, say, and didn't understand the physics being discussed, I'd expect them to get an expert's input. Why should football finances be any different?

A journalist's job should be, surely, providing the clearest possible explanation of circumstance or event that their audience can appreciate. If that involves seeking an expert to plug the gaps in their own knowledge, how is that any different to the coverage of the State of Scottish Football story that comes in the wake of the PWC annual report?

And believe me, it's nothing to do with playing on paranoia or keyboard warriors - I'd have celebrated similar clear and forensic exposure had it been Hearts, Thistle, the SRU... whatever. The point of making the blog my hero was to highlight the work they'd done in filling a gap left by journalists, not to - as you put it - 'beat the humble hack'.

Ultimately, I don't believe I've taken cheap shots at newspapers - or indeed any other aspect of the media, Scottish or otherwise, over these last couple of months writing for the Drum. What I want to do with this blog is try and explore the problems the industry has here - and hopefully how they can be fixed. Sorry if my approach doesn't meet with your approval.

5 Jan 2012 - 17:28

My latest tweets

  • Very interesting, detailed look at the current state - and the possible future - of the Guardian. #newspapers
  • I'd love to see News Corp launch a bid for the Guardian and Observer. That'd sort the men out from the boys.
  • And isn't it strange how @mediaguardian always so quick to pick up on Twitter blunders, missed @alextomo's crass Rangers tweet?
  • By liveblogging, I mean @mediaguardian just point to old infographics and continually quote Michael Wolff's tweets. 21st century journalism.
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