The writer? Certainly. It seems clear that he jumped into this without really understanding what blogging is about – or, indeed, the nature of the audience he was writing for. And, frankly, that’s just bad journalism. Writing a blog post a bit like a humorous sidebar in a travel feature is as unforgivable as writing a 2,000 word feature in the style of a news story. Know the medium you’re using, and use it well.
The editors? Oh, yes. It doesn’t take much more than a cursory look at the copy Max produced to see that it was faintly embarrassing, especially in the context of a blog. The problem is that anyone who is reading blogs regularly has seen good travel blogging, be it from travel specialists or not. This was not good travel blogging, and the ill-starred trio of it being in a national newspaper, by the son of an established journalist and a writer from a popular “youth” TV show just aggravated what would have been a bad situation anyway. And, to the credit of Emily Bell and [Andy Pietrasik](http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/travelog/2008/02/editors_response_to_yesterdays.html), they have accepted responsibility for the error of publishing it in the way they did.
[As Bell puts it](http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/inside/2008/02/the_week_that_was_football_lin.html):
> This was six hundred words which was aimed at adding variety and colour to the travel site. Maybe an open blog post was not the best place to publish it, but the joy of evolving websites is that we learn on a daily basis.
And that was the fundamental failing here – not truly understanding the nature of the work they’d commissioned and the style of medium they published it out in. This is a rare mistake for The Guardian in social media, which is why it sticks out so badly. But it’s a common one amongst journalists, including the ones I work with. It’s all too easy for them to perceive blogging and other forms of social media through the lens of their existing understanding of journalism. But as the audience grows ever more savvy in this area, mistakes will be less and less forgivable.
And we need to stop [cargo cult blogging](http://www.onemanandhisblog.com/archives/2007/03/sethgate_reeds_cargo_cult_blogging.html), and start genuinely joining in the conversation.