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Saturday, 4 August 2007

Charles Firth's new "gonzo journalism" Web site, first mentioned here on 20 June can now be revealed to be "an online gonzo Sunday newspaper", according to Susan Wyndham, writing on the Undercover blog.

Firth says it is "an antidote to mainstream news and bedroom bloggers" but "the audience will be trained to go into the world as citizen gonzo journalists". I see a logical disconnect there. Even bedroom bloggers can be gonzo, surely? I guess the operative element is "bedroom" in place of his desired progress "into the world".

It will be launched this month. Today we also got to learn the opinions of Andrew Keen (Internet critic) in the same issue of Spectrum (The Sydney Morning Herald's weekend culture supplement).

Keen would deplore Firth's initiative. The paper's Web site doesn't hold the piece and I've never heard of Keen before despite having been a regular blogger for over 18 months. I agree with some of his ideas: bloggers are subjective (that's the point!), we need not simply eject 'experts' just because they get paid to do what we do for free, a lot of bloggers are not very well read (tho he goes further: "I don't think bloggers read"), and there is "some quite good writing on the internet written by people who don't care about making money out of it".

His battle is already lost, however. As to his dislike of amateurs, I disagree severely. In the not-so-recent past, amateurs were very influential. It is only very recently that most areas of culture have been dominated by professionals. Keen's The Cult of the Amateur is out soon.

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