Press Gazette

It is always very affirming to be acknowledged by your peers.

Yesterday evening I learned that I had made the Top ten in the Press Gazette’s Top Fifty journalists in the UK who use Twitter and social media.

The Press Gazette is THE trade magazine for journalism in the UK so this was especially pleasing for me.

I started using Twitter in late 2010 when I was writing on the scoop that became known as the “Dallas email story”.

At that point I had four-yes FOUR-followers.

Three weeks later when, Mr Dallas was no longer an employee of the Scottish Football Association, I had over 1,000 folks following my tweets.

For me and Twitter it wasn’t the end it was just the beginning.

My Twitter following  is now inexorably heading towards 23,000.

The Guardian media section saw the importance of how I had broken the Dallas email story and commissioned a piece from me about it.

Twitter is now an essential tool in my working day as a journalist.

Although I have a Facebook page for disseminating my work it is twitter that has the real impact.

I don’t post funny pictures of cats or engage in arguments about soap operas.

Actually I try and avoid arguments completely on Twitter and social media.

It wastes my time and drains my energy.

So when it comes to how I use social media, as with most things, I have my own style.

If you don’t like it then unfollow.

I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by the folks at the Press Gazette to tell me that I had been voted into the Top Fifty of journalists in the UK using social media.

They invited me to their bash in London, but I already spend too much time out of my glen so I politely refused.

Although I opened their email in Donegal they’re correct in that most of my work is focussed on Scotland and most of my readers are UK based.

By the nature of the digital revolution my geographical location doesn’t prevent me from reporting on what is happening in Planet Fitba.

I’m very grateful to the prestigious panel of judges for putting me in their Top Ten.

I am certainly in excellent company and I was especially chuffed that my mate at Channel Four News Alex Thomson was in at number three.

His tweeting from trouble spots around the planet is, as they say in Planet Fitba, different class.

Anyone who takes a break from reporting in Kabul to ask me for Turnbull Hutton’s number so that he could call him to congratulate him on Raith Rover’s cup victory deserves some sort of award just for that alone!

The response from Twitter to the news of my inclusion if the Top Ten that I posted up was universally positive and the klan were silent.

When I started writing about their racism in 2008 it was important to them that I be silenced.

I called them out of the Famine Song when the mainstream media in Scotland were either shamefully silent or wrote permission slips for the Genocide Choir.

The klan couldn’t deal with the message so they smeared and threatened the messenger.

The objective was to make me go away.

It was a simple enough strategy from the klan, silence the messenger and then the message will not be heard.

A central part of that campaign was to attack my credentials as a journalist.

Recognition like this from the Press Gazette yesterday only further underlines how much they failed in that objective.

Whether I like it or not I now have a readership in the glens of Planet Fitba and if I can do the state some service then I will.

I have no intention of stopping.

Some of the klan may be moved to ask; “who are these people?”

Well the judges for Press Gazette’s Social Media Journalism Awards are:

Matt Cooke: Former BBC journalist now Google product marketing manager

Gordon MacMillan: Former editor of Brand Republic, now editorial manager for Twitter

Jon Bernstein: Digital journalism consultant, editor and trainer. Former deputy editor and digital director of New Statesman, ex multimedia editor for Channel 4 News

Paul Bradshaw: Founder of the Online Journalism Blog and head of the MA in online journalism at Birmingham University

Dominic Ponsford: Editor of Press Gazette.

That’s a fairly heavyweight group to sift the various merits of that Top Fifty.

“Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford said: “Our list wasn’t based on the number of followers journalists had, but on who – in the opinion of the judges and our readers – was the best reporter on Twitter and social media.”

You will note dear reader that I am the only one of the Ten that has any connection to Planet Fitba so no doubt the hacks in Glasgow will be delighted for me.

I am not a sports journalist and have never claimed to be one.

My background is in politics and current affairs and it is that perspective that I bring to writing and reporting on Scottish football and, indeed, on anything else.

Given the number of page view that comes into this site and the daily growth in my Twitter following I now have an ability to bypass the mainstream media in a way that I could not have imagined when I was trying to sell articles to newspapers in Scotland in the mid-1980s.

I believe that the sports desks in Glasgow are now on a trajectory to total irrelevance as they still subsist on the dwindling supply of succulent lamb.

Even as recent as yesterday-via twitter-I tried to assist a TV journalist working in Scotland to do his job properly.

I supplied him with a detailed list of questions that I have submitted to Sevco’s media office and I did so by tweeting him links to recent posts on here.

Dear reader there is no fearful editor or bullying PR chap that can prevent these words reaching you.

Moreover it is highly likely that now, in the age of the smart phone, you will be notified of the existence of this piece by receiving a tweet from me.

When I click send on Twitter more people than you can cram into Easter Road will receive it in an instant.

The succulent hacks and the klan would rather that I stopped doing this stuff and did walking away.

I don’t think I will.

My thanks to all of ye who voted for me and I’m very grateful to the illustrious panel of judges for deciding that my use of Twitter and social media  deserved a Top ten placing.

I just looked at the other nine above me and that is some serious company to be included with.


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