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.]