Deborah Hobson- Contributing Editor
So, hapless James McGrath, the former political strategist and 'spin doctor' to newly elected Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson, is no doubt adjusting to a quieter life away from the machinations of City Hall after his highly publicised sacking. It was an act of ruthless expediency by Johnson this week which was unequivocally supported by David Cameron, the Conservative party leader.
This followed McGrath's 'foot-in-mouth' race blunder made in a meeting a month ago with The-Latest.com Editor and political activist Marc Wadsworth. When asked by Wadsworth to respond to a suggestion made by writer and broadcaster Darcus Howe that the election of right-winger Boris Johnson might trigger a mass exodus of older African-Caribbean migrants back to the West Indies, McGrath's shockingly ill-considered retort was: "Well, let them go if they don't like it here."
The story, first revealed as an 'exclusive' on this citizen journalism website, made headline news in the British and foreign press, broadcast media and the internet. But, true to the nature of journalism, press news coverage has swiftly moved on to, among other matters, the disturbing events unfolding in Zimbabwe. And for British newspapers, typically obsessed with celebrity, the latest John Leslie rape allegations have been making headlines.
Enthusiasts of citizens empowered to themselves do reporting in Britain and abroad have been assessing the impact of The-Latest.com's breakthrough story. Overall, this website is greatly heartened by the positive responses from our colleagues in the community of citizen journalists and elsewhere.
British journalism professor Richard Keeble, of the University of Lincoln, applauded the exclusive. He said: "For a citizen journalism to get such a scoop is great achievement."
Keeble nailed an ethical issue about the story which has been raised by pointing out that: "He (Marc Wadsworth) did not rush into print following James McGrath's comment. He sought a private dialogue with him; but despite various attempts to get in touch with him, McGrath failed to respond. And so he went to press on the comment. That Boris Johnson chose to sack McGrath for the comment tells us more about the nervousness of the Tory party over "racism" issues than anything else. Marc still stresses that he didn't seek the sacking - he merely wanted a dialogue with McGrath."
The-Latest.com will continue to advance the progressive march of citizen journalism by uncovering the truth behind the 'official line' of powerful organisations, unravelling their web of lies where they exist, exposing the shadowy and corrupt figures behind the doors of fiefdoms like City Hall and giving you the ordinary citizen the opportunity to publish the stories that are important to you.
Here, The-Latest provides an edited selection of some of the comments about the McGrath exposÃ© from citizen reporters on the NowPublic website.
Good work.Thanks for posting this, and all the links. It goes to show what CJ can do. :) Great to see CJ making a difference.
I like this story. It's good stuff.
Well mainsteam media will always miss such stories because they are attached to one or other ideology/lobby. Well done.
The Tories and their allies have spent more energy attacking the journalist who broke the story rather than McGrath's slurs against Black people. Being a citizen journalist certainly can be rough....
This underlines the important and powerful role the citizen journalist has to play in preserving democracy and fair play. Not without risks tho.
The government is totally aware of network journalists, but since there are so many CJs and growing, the Government types can't keep up with them. So it looks like some av joe asking questions, no harm done, right? Guess this CJ and those involved showed them. Very cool story from where I sit.
This scoop also brings to light the 'backlash' to the CJ...and how some of us just aren't prepared for that. I mean, normal staff reporters probably have Big Newspapers to support them. On that website they are encouraged to put in their full name and for safety reasons, particularly, if you write on controversial things, it can be a bit of a risk to the CJ. Remember what happened to Salman Rushdie?
Good for him (Marc Wadsworth) though. Power to the people.
I read The Times yesterday about the story and it didn't mention that the-latest.com was a CJ site - it just said it was a 'news site' and there was no mention that press history had been made in that story, let alone that the mainstream press ignored the story at first.
Perhaps the established players were too busy wiping egg off their faces after being scooped by a two year old rookie website. The importance of established media entities is being diminished and I guess they prefer not to mention that fact.
* See also: http://www.the-latest.com/mcgrath-race-gaffe-row
* See NowPublic
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