Tuesday, 9 February 2010

REVIEW: What Difference does Political Blogging make?

I got to the Monk's Exchange last night at around 7.15 but there was already a decent crowd ready for the Westminster Skeptics panel discussion. At the bar I got talking to Amanjit Jhund (Labour PPC for Windsor) who introduced me to some of his friends on the left including Shamik Das, assistant editor of 'Left Foot Forward'. I also met Karen Lee, editor of BBC 2's Culture Show.

The Panel Discussion began with Nick Cohen (Observer journalist and author of 'What's Left?') stating the case for journalism. I wanted to try and see his point of view so as to get a balance and not be so automatically predisposed towards blogging but I found his argument somewhat disjointed and non-effective. Of all the panel responses it was Slugger O'Toole (Mick Fealty) who gave the best account for the bloggers with a sensible speech about the important role played by such blogs as his own in opening discussion of stories up.

The Q&A session was slightly more disappointing with both questions and answers being rather prolonged. Nevertheless some important points were raised about the hostile nature of a lot of blogs and also about the possible future of journaslism. Particular insight was from Jonathan Isaby who famously moved from working at the Daily Telegraph to become editor of Conservative Home.

The evening came to a close with conversations with both @WhosLobbying and the legendary Thomas Byrne who will be relieved to hear I won't be revealing details from our slightly drunken conversation!