Max Gogarty: A Warning?

Poor Max. Just 19 years old, fresh out of college, a summer trip planned and a writing career on the cards. Landing himself a blog on The Guardian website must have been the icing on the cake:

Hello. I’m Max Gogarty. I’m 19 and live on top of a hill in north London.

At the minute, I’m working in a restaurant with a bunch of lovely, funny people; writing a play; writing bits for Skins; spending any sort of money I earn on food and skinny jeans, and drinking my way to a financially blighted two-month trip to India and Thailand. Clichéd I know, but clichés are there for a reason.

Alas, Guardian website readers were not inclined to share in the clichés of the skinny jean-clad young-un. Even less so when it was revealed that Max was the son of occasional Guardian travel writer Paul Gogarty.

The comments were choice:

… As for skinny jeans , Max if ever you eat from the street you may wish you had something a little more baggy and easy to remove, alternatively you could take some nappies.
I’m not sure that the street vendors take Amex though.

You can have your first ladyboy experience in Thailand, but maybe you won’t journal that one, just look out for the adams apple.
Is this for the gold or silver DOE award?

Where are quentin, rupert and tiggy going to be? i’m sure the blackberry will keep you all in touch. (rowanblades)


That clears that up then. I was initially baffled as to why Guardian Unlimited (a website/publication that I thought had a reasonable amount of integrity) would produce this dollop of crud. But it turns out that ol’ chesnut is to blame; nepotism. Ah sweet, sweet nepotism…how would society function without you?

After the travel editor tried to placate the angry hoarde, moderators eventually decided to switch off comments altogether. The following day, the travel editor posted a defence of Max’s blog. That also recieved some interesting comments.

I think it is a good warning to newspapers to keep tighter control over the type of subjects and people that write for them in their blogs. Just because blogs are relatively cheap to publish doesn’t mean you have the freedom to publish anything and everything. Readers still expect to see something that makes sense in terms of the newspaper’s brand. Doing a “Max Gogarty” may be a way to encourage reader comments, but it’s not going to do your reputation any favours.

[This topic is dong the rounds on t’internet. Other posts include:
Emily Bell – The week that was – football links and other problems
One Man And His Blog – When Mainstream Media Goes Bad
Bete de Jour – Max Gogarty: The Ugly Side of Travelling
Travel Weekly: Guardian’s teenage travel blogger gets flamed
Wayne Type, 19 Hits the Road
and Pete Ashton: Oh, Max… which explains it all better than I.]


6 Responses to “Max Gogarty: A Warning?”

  1. 1 Nick February 17, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I feel somewhat sorry for him as he was just taking the opportunities that were presented to him, but the Guardian should have known better.

    Thousands of posh kids go traveling to India to “Find Themselves” every year and ultimately it is very exciting for the people involved, but utterly tedious for anyone else who has to hear about it.

    There are literally millions of blogs like this floating about the internet and it just so happens that the one that gets picked up is, by the son of a Guardian travel writer. If Paul is trying to claim that nepotism wasn’t a factor then that’s pretty big pill to swallow.

  2. 2 Nathan February 18, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Yep. The fact that the piece wasn’t spiked when it turned out to be dross is almost more damning than him being commissioned in the first place.

    But you’re right, Nick, Max’s only crime is being 19 and a bit of a twit. Someone should take the commissioning ed outside and slap him – and maybe explain to him what a blog is at the same time, since what he’s hired Max to do doesn’t even come close.

    Thanks for the link to Travel Weekly, Joanna…

  3. 3 ourmanwhere February 18, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    There is a growing dislike of the Guardian’s North London-centric attitude to everyone which includes its sneering attitude to everyone outside the capital.

    Considering most of the abuse was aimed at the Guardian, it’s nepotism and its cosy little insiders view point – the fact that they have come out fighting – and basically blaming the whole thing on angry posters is pathetic.

    Emily Bell’s comments show real disdain for her readership.

    Strangely, my last post, before this all blew up was outlining the Guardians smugness and apparent dislike for its readers.

  1. 1 The BBC’s muddled view of cyberbullying « Groves Media Trackback on February 19, 2008 at 9:22 am
  2. 2 Getting readers to click is the big challenge « Groves Media Trackback on March 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm
  3. 3 Blogging in “our” newspapers « Groves Media Trackback on May 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm

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