Blogger’s vision for the future
November 26, 2009 by admin
Political blogger Guido Fawkes believes that video journalism is the future and that next year’s general election will be a “YouTube election”, writes Nick Hamilton.
Fawkes, whose real name is Paul Staines, has broken a number of high-profile political stories on his controversial, right-leaning blog. But he told journalism students at the University of Westminster that video holds the future for journalism.
Staines said that new video technology is quicker and easier for journalists and the public to use. He questioned why anybody would read an article in a newspaper when they could watch a video with the same information on their mobile phone.
Staines said the fact that The Guardian’s offices are fitted out with recording studios is proof of the changes under way. He described seeing The Guardian’s Assistant Editor, Michael White, setting up his tripod and doing pieces to camera unassisted at public events.
As a result of these changes, Staines believes that video journalism will have a bigger role to play than blogging in the general election next year.
“It’s more likely to be the ‘YouTube election’ than it is to be the ‘blogging election’”, he said. “I think that somebody will catch something on their camera phone that people don’t want them to see.”
But a campaign this week in which the Conservatives compare Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling to X Factor contestants Jedward, shows how political parties can use the new media to their advantage.
“[Political parties] will be able to change their campaigns in the flash of a switch. They just did that when Jedward were knocked out of X Factor. The Tories ran a campaign immediately on digital billboards. You know, you couldn’t do that in the past,” said Staines.
The blogger believes the Scottish National Party (SNP) has set a good example for English parties to follow during the election.
“In the last general election the SNP in Scotland had their own online six o’clock news. It was fantastic. It had a former local news reporter doing the reports and it was really well done.”
Staines has been blogging as Guido Fawkes since 2004. His reasons for starting the blog were “completely narcissistic”.
“I realised that I could be the drunk complaining in the corner of the pub or I could do it online. I chose the latter,” he said.
Staines has been criticised for the quality of his journalism and his undisguised support for the Conservative Party. But he has succeeded in breaking a number of important political stories.
In 2008 Welsh Secretary Peter Hain resigned his ministerial posts after Staines revealed details about donations Hain received for his campaign to become Labour leader. And in the Smeargate scandal this year, one of Gordon Brown’s top advisers resigned after Staines blogged that he was planning a smear campaign against senior Conservatives.
Staines believes that he is doing important work not covered by other sections of the media.
He criticised the lobby as “an embedded system, in which you become the client of people you should be reporting on.” And said that ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, has “become pretty much establishment”.
Additional reporting Rob Powell
Guido Fawkes’ political blog