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04/11/2006

Creator of the web says "we expect better of the Guardian and BBC"...

* * Updated * * 

We certainly do.

I an read in the Guardian yesterday with a shock-horror angle (One sub-header ran "Blogging one of the biggest perils, says innovator") seeming to say that the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee was fearing for the future of his creation and thought that the amount of misinformation on blogs was one of the biggest threats.

Wow, I thought, is he losing it or does he not like the plebs using his invention for their own ends. Has he shown his true elitist colours at last? Doesn't sound like the Tim Berners-Lee I thought I knew from his articles, interviews and, er, blog.

The real story was that Southampton University and MIT were launching a joint Web Studies degree. More prosaic, but and important story nonetheless. Shame they had to dress it up in spin.

For spin it was. Mr Berners-Lee was trying to say something completely different.

Tim Berners-Lee reacted to the article on his blog:  

In a recent interview with the Guardian, alas, my attempt to explain this was turned upside down into a "blogging is one of the biggest perils" message. Sigh. I think they took their lead from an unfortunate BBC article, which for some reason stressed concerns about the web rather than excitement, failure modes rather than opportunities. (This happens, because when you launch a Web Science Research Initiative, people ask what the opportunities are and what the dangers are for the future. And some editors are tempted to just edit out the opportunities and headline the fears to get the eyeballs, which is old and boring newspaper practice. We expect better from the Guardian and BBC, generally very reputable sources).

....And, fortunately, we have blogs. We can publish what we actually think, even when misreported.

Maybe we'll hear some thoughts from the writer of the Guardian piece, Bobbie Johnson soon. Could be the result of some poor sub-editing. I regularly read his blog as well as many of his Guardian pieces, and he never struck me before as a sensationalist journalist.

Thanks to Euan Semple for the link.

* * Update:

There's a good article on the real story here at the New York Times...

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» Misquoting in Print, Correcting in Blogs from One Man & His Blog
Via Jim and Anthony I note that Tim Berners-Lee, the man that invented the World Wide Web, is complaining about being misquoted in The Guardian recently: In a recent interview with the Guardian, alas, my attempt to explain this was turned upside down ... [Read More]

Comments

Media negative spin is everywhere - of the 32 stories on my Guardian RSS feed on 3/11/06, I noted 26 had a negative headline and several of the others presented potentially good news with a critical slant. This cannot be accurate or objective reporting.

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