In September I reported on a medical blogger’s criticism of a BBC News Online piece. That critical blog post by AnneMarie Cunningham, is now up for an Edublog Award for the ‘Most influential blog post 2009‘.
Which is a curious thing. As AnneMarie herself points out:
“It is about poor research and poor journalism. I’m not so sure how influential the article was, as none of the authors, the universities involved, or the publishers responded to my emails seeking clarification on the research.
“I discovered later that the BBC were not the only people to publish the story. Most of the main UK newspapers had also picked up on it. So as google-sidewiki appeared at the same time I went around leaving links to my blog post anywhere that I could not leave a comment directly.”
Certainly the blog post kicked up something of a stink on Twitter and other blogs, but what influence did it have? The Editor of BBC Online Education wrote AnneMarie off as having some sort of agenda. It’s a reminder that however much we may crow about the power of the internet to give a voice to the voiceless, and identify flaws in reporting, there will always be those who find reasons not to listen.
Even if some people choose not to listen I think it’s important to get those stories and opinions out there. That’s why the internet is so great. Because anyone can say anything about something they feel strongly about and no matter what, someone will be out there listening.