Thursday, August 30, 2007

Whipping 'The Whip' Into Shape

In April I speculated about the imminent demise of The Sun's Whip column, which seems to delight in regurgitating three day old stories from blogs in the guise of original diary copy. Well, it's staggered on for a few more months, but surely the end must be nigh. Today the column carries Guido's story on Chris Huhne's BMW and personalised numberplate (although to be far, so does Ephraim Hardcastle). Guido posted it on Tuesday afternoon. Neither The Sun, nor the Mail give Guido any attribution, natch. My News International spies tell me that the Sun's designers often forget to include space for The Whip and that the column's editors have been given a final warning: stop lifting from blogs, find original stories or face the consequences.

FACT: The Whip column has a budget of £130,000.


Anonymous said...

But there again, Guido didn't credit the Observer which mentioned it early last year.

Or this entry in a Guardian blog.

"I'm very pleased that Campbell has won - according to the Observer and other newspapers the other day Huhne used to own the personalised numberplate H11HNE and my thoughts are never trust a man who is vain and lacking in taste enough to purchase a personalised numberplate. Plus he has nine homes which is hardly likely to endear him to the millions struggling with homelessness and poor quality housing

Posted by Asquith on March 2, 2006 4:00 PM."

Anonymous said...

The Welsh Blogosphere has a similar plagiarist in the form of the Wales on Sunday's 'Spin Doctor' column, 'written' by Matt Withers. I'm sure Matt doesn't get payed as much as 'The Whip' though.

Guido Fawkes said...

Guido didn't need to credit the Observer because he first mentioned it during the LibDem leadership campaign.

The Huntsman said...

Not sure if this is the best place for this but it may be of help to fellow bloggers

Bloggers using Google's "Blogger" system should be aware of and alert to this story on BBC Technology (

"Bloggers battered by viral storm

Some blogs have been found hosting booby-trapped links
Google's Blogger site is being used by malicious hackers who are posting fake entries to some blogs."

See link for full story. Google does not appear to have reacted as yet.

Tuscan Tony said...

I don't think it will take Mr Murdoch too long to work out he can have The Whip for £ 130k, or buy for ...errr... over to you, Guido.

Newmania said...

£130,000 you could take over the blogasphere with that easily ....or blow it on drugs women and fine dining in a few nights which is a much better idea

Anonymous said...

Not too sure why it matters, and i'd be surprised if the powers that be at the sun are very bothered. (and no - i don't work for the whip) Diaries are written for all newspaper readers, not just we wonk-obsessives who lurk on blogs like these. Do you really think the average sun reader gives a damn that a story was on a blog they have never heard of a few days earlier? Frustrating for whoever breaks the story, sure, but that's an experience that every journalist is familiar with. You think the BBC News credits the Telegraph when they nick a story from there? You guys are part of the msm too now. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Actually tabloid diaries are an editorial device to act as a deterrent to other newspapers from publishing sotories about newspaper execs and editors.

As such The Whip is in no danger of disappearing but equally isn't a very important section of the newspaper. 130k including staff costs isn't very high in national newspaper terms for a daily column.

The source for your info wouldn't have been praised recently on your blog would they and have an axe to grind against The Whip?

Chris Paul said...

KB presumably uses the budget to pay friends and family who send tips? That's how Diary's tend to work. They pay the tipster not the original. They are variable in whether they mention either.

In theory KB pays far more generously that other outlets but if editorial policy is "stale" I'll have to start holding stories for a few days.

And finally, Mr GuF may not need to credit the Observer but he could surely have credited someone. Very poor on the old hat tip front some of the more high and mighty old money bloggers.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous at 5pm - not that I am aware of - on either count. Feel free to elucidate!

Anonymous said...

I take it back then and apologise. (although to be fair I did ask the question rather than assert)

You praised an ex employee of The Whip last week - who is likely not to be enamoured with their ex employers.

So adding two and two obviously made five, Sorry!

Iain Dale said...

No probs. I know who you mean now. Funnily enough I was going to have a coffee yesterday with her, but I can 100% assure you she is not my source! The source is a 'he'!

Rocker said...

Granted the whip is pretty lame. That said, ripping stuff that has been published elsewhere and repackaging it for your audience without crediting the originator is as old as journalism itself.

Chris Paul said...

As Rocker says ... as old as journalism itself, and rapidly picked up by bloggers.

Once wrote a magazine cover feature completely as a write round of other people's quotes. Not concealed. Signposted even. Very well received. The band themselves remembered our non-existent interview with great fondness. No lie.

We had chewed the fat a few times.

Anonymous said...

I've just finished a stint of work at the Sun. The Whip is printed every day without fail. But yes, clearly their lifting from blogs is shoddy.

And I might be wrong, Iain, but I don't think that when the anonymous commenter suggested that your source was AxeGrinder they meant your female coffee partner.. The current AxeGrinder is, after all, a man (and indeed an ex-Whip man)

Iain Dale said...

And no, it wasn't him either!

Anonymous said...

Same for the son of the bed-blocker Rifkind at The Times? Every day is a rehash of blog and other stuff

Anonymous said...

Hang on - you wrote against the Whip about two months ago.

Then you wrote a column praising Tara Hamilton-Miller's 'insider' columns about a week ago.