Despite efforts made by the UK government to involve bloggers in covering the G20 conference in London this week, two of the UK’ s leading political bloggers have said they were not invited.
The historic meeting of the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies was the first such event where widespread accreditation was given to bloggers.
The G20 Voice Initiative saw bloggers from around the world covering the event. The UK government extended accreditation to 50 bloggers from around the world after being approached by a group of NGOs.
Political blogger Iain Dale said he only heard of the event in a letter from Oxfam who were running a competition to send a blogger to the conference.
He wrote yesterday: “To be honest, I’d rather stick pins in my eyes rather than be put in a tent in a remote part of East London with 50 other bloggers with nothing to write about, so I didn’t take them up on their kind offer.
“But it seems they didn’t contact any of the other reasonably well known bloggers.”
Dale told Press Gazette: “None of the top 20 bloggers were invited. That’s a failing somewhere.” He said: “I don’t go to Downing Street Press conferences because I think they’re a waste of time to me as a blogger. If I have a question for a politician I’ll ring up and ask them.”
Political blogger Paul Staines, who blogs as Guido Fawkes, said the Government made no effort to approach bloggers.
Paul Staines told Press Gazette:”I’ve gate-crashed lobbies before but when you’ve got 50 journalists in there you’re not going to get a scoop.”
The youngest blogger among the 50 in the G20 Voice group was 14-year-old James Simmonds with NGO Global Campaign for Education.
He wrote in his blog yesterday: “I got into this campaign through winning a competition but through being here I still feel like I am extremely lucky – especially when I sit next to self-built bloggers who have millions of readers off of their own backs.
“This is the start of the digital revolution, where press is moving onto the internet. This is the first international summit where bloggers have been given press accreditation (again – I am so lucky!) and this marks the start of a new era where the internet is taking hold of news.”
Civil Service minister Tom Watson ran the official blog for the London Summit website.
Watson wrote yesterday: “It’s interesting to observe the other bloggers who seem less-phased, more deliberative than the people who are chasing news and stories.”