The case against ‘Blogger of the Year’ Nick Robinson


BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson, picked up the ‘Blogger of the Year’ prize at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards this morning beating fellow nominees Paul Waugh of the Evening Standard and Coffee House’s Melanie Phillips. The gong will send howls of derision around the blogosphere.

Iain Dale has previously lamented the shortlisting for this year’s awards which excluded any independent bloggers but the winner is even more puzzling. This blog has nothing against Nick Robinson’s broadcasting (although others do) but even his nomination for the best blogger award is a real stretch. Nick Robinson has:

- A low frequency of posts. In July, for example, Robinson only posted eight blogs and often goes three to four days without posting. His archive suggests that his writing is an afterthought to his broadcast work.

- His Twitter presence fairs poorly against his fellow nominees. Despite @BBCnickrobinson having more than 23,000 followers it offers no interactivity, simply broadcasting links to his latest posts. This morning, the magnanimous Paul Waugh tweeted on the importance of interactivity. He said:

“Blogging’s like sex cos: to do it well u need to do it frequently, really enjoy it and take careful note of feedback.”

- The content of Robinson’s posts compares poorly to others, lacking detail and, crucially for blogging, virtually no hyperlinks to other sites.

By contrast, Paul Waugh is a prolific blogger regularly posting six or more stories a day; uses twitter for microblogging and interacting with his audience as well as promoting his pieces; and has an uncanny ability to be first to a story. For example, he was first to tip John Healey as the ‘Dark Horse‘ of the shadow cabinet elections, got his own pictures of the champagne ban being breached at the Tory Conference, and produces interesting detail on the intricacies and costs of ministerial work in Whitehall.

Some of the other awards made more sense:

- The brilliant Johann Hari from the Indy picked up the Environment Commentator of the year award – although his range is much broader including this terrific piece today on the cuts.

- Anatole Kaletsky from The Times won Financial Commentator of the year for his coverage of the fallout from the financial crash which has continued

- The FT’s Gideon Rachman is Foreign Commentator of the year

- Danny Finkelstein picked up Political Commentator of the year

The event ended with Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow making an impassioned speech against the lack of nominated women. He pointed out that five of the 13 categories had no shortlisted women while the only women to pick up an award was Anne Spackman, Comment Editor at the Times, for the Best Comment Pages award.

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  • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

    In reply to comment by NickSmeggHead at 12:51 pm…

    You must be on the extreeeeeme left think that. Seriously. Your comments were removed, probably, becasue they were dire insults and clearly from a deranged mind. NR is, patently, “of the left”, as is most of the BBC.

  • Joe

    It shouldn’t have anything to do with quantity but quality. Too many bloggers, including on left foot forward, put something out even when they have nothing to say.
    Best bloggers? See Paul Mason and Adam Curtis at the beeb, both wonderfully interesting if only sporadic bloggers. I’d prefer one of either of their blogs than 1,000 from many other bloggers, including yourself (no offence Will!)
    See Curtis’ latest – http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/
    For the best of Mason – http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/10/the_penury_of_americas_middle.html

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  • It doesn’t add up…

    @NickSmeggHead

    Seeing as Robinson is as much a Tory as Shaun Woodward or Quentin Davies, BBC complaints know instinctively that complaints of pro-Tory bias by him are wrong by definition. At least my complaint was about factual inaccuracy (he hadn’t bothered to research something provable in numbers, and simply assumed the very wrong answer to suit his BBC party agenda).

  • NickSmeggHead

    In reply to Span Ows

    You must extreme rightwing Daily Mail reader if you think Nick Robinson is ‘of the left’! Remember he used to the President of the Oxford University Conservative Association whose members tend to be right of the Tory party. When BBC are impartial, right wingers like you complain that BBC is of the left. BBC used to be impartial until they changed the tack in 2005.

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  • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

    Touche Smegg, I didn’t intend my comment to appear so rude. Anyway, your comment re NR at Uni would indicate that half of New Labour are Commies/Marxists etc. The BBC changed tack in the 80s and hardened that stance in the 90s and even more so in ’97 when their political research bods joined New Labour! There was no change of tack in 2005, they have supported New Labour and still do, in fact they seem to be getting worse and not trying to hide it so much.

  • Raymond Kelly

    Robinson is an overweaning self-promoter. He may have got his award because they’re counting his underscreen comments that get added to live political events and detract from what the speakers are actually saying (they are now adding his photograph to them).

    Or perhaps the 3/4 of the screen that was devoted to his comments during George Osborne’s speech with George squashed into the top corner. During the elections he was in front of the camera more than the politicians explaining what “the truth” is (usually the opposite of what the poor sod whose edited clip he was supposed to be commenting on actually said)

  • Raymond Kelly

    As for Robinson’s political bias, one can hardly forget the way he “mugged” Alistair Darling in the middle of the election campaign by repeatedly interrupting him with the pre-prepared phrase “your cuts will be deeper than Margaret Thatcher’s won’t they?” Darling eventually mumbled something and appeared to nod – producing the BBC headline “Darling says that his cuts will be deeper than Margaret Thatcher’s”.

    One can hardly think of anything more calculated to stop Labour supporters voting for the party than the suggestion that they would cut deeper than Thatcher. The Tories still use the phrase now on occasion.

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  • NickSmeggHead

    This is for you Span “Nick Robinson is ‘of the left'” Ows

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/oct/21/nick-robinson-anti-war-protester

  • http://www.britain-votes.co.uk Tom Harris

    “In July, for example, Robinson only posted eight blogs and often goes three to four days without posting.”

    He must be listening. Updated five times today…although one was solely devoted to apologising for his unprofessional behaviour last night!

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  • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

    Oh dear, Smeggy, see my comment here:

    http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/10/respect-to-nick-robinson.html

    P.S. Did you see my comments on the ID post that Will links too in the post above?

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  • Mr. Sensible

    I saw about this on Robbinson’s Newslog:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2010/10/last_nights_six_oclock_news.html

    For me, freedom to protest is all well and good, but I think they crossed the line.

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  • matthew fox

    I don’t know why LFF allow Iain Dale a mention on this blog. The man is a oaf and a loon, who spends most of his time attacking ben bradshaw.

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