A comment from a source

Given the recent controversy one of my ‘sources’, has asked to put his views on here.

Speaking as one of the “sourcesâ€? for some of Gavin’s stories from London and in particular from the London Underground (LUL) side of things I take exception to the remarks made by fmk.

I could go on all day, however I will just point out that for those of you who weren’t in London on the day in question, the rumours were rife right from the first moment that the shooting took place especially for those of us who work on LUL. I however do not tend to react to rumour and immediately contacted colleagues working on the Northern line to find out details from those in the vicinity. Unfortunately as we in London have found out recently, whenever these attacks or apparent attacks take place the mobile phone system is shut down by the powers that be and consequently I was unable to speak to some of those I would have liked to.

However I did manage to speak to a friend of mine who relayed to me the comments made by the first passengers leaving the station after the shooting. Hence the “bomb belt� line. This line of thought was also relayed to me eventually by several staff who were working in the vicinity at the time. The point should also be made that Sir Ian Blair said on national and international television that the shooting was “directly linked to the bombings�.

It should also be pointed out, as Gavin has already stated he was publishing the information about the detonators exploding but not the main charges long (hours) before anyone in the media, if that doesn’t come from a reliable source then I don’t what a reliable source is!

6 Responses to “A comment from a source”

  1. As an aircraft accident investigator who has cleaned up three Class-A mishaps involving loss of life, I could not cite someone as an eyewitness unless they had actually observed a specific measureable incident. Those first-person observations helped form the groundwork for preliminary conclusions. We could not cite second and third person opinions as sources of valid information.

    This thread documents a paucity of credible first-hand reporting which places it fairly in the cross-hairs of fmk’s challenge.

    The London five-round shooting here is still a good read but on the level of a tabloid report. Personally, I would not have denigrated the term “sources” when working with an absence of corrobated reports that observed the victim, his demeanour and the police response.

  2. fmk says:

    on the value of reported eye witness reports, i can only direct you to this: http://www.siglamag.com/blog/2005/07/26/eye-witness-reporting/

  3. Rick o shea says:

    Yes fmk what you say is perhaps true in SOME respects as is what Bernie has said but surely what blogs are best at in these circumstances (when they are used to get news and information out ASAP) is exactly that…..getting info out quickly to those people who want it.

    It should not be expected of bloggers to examine in detail every aspect of the information given them by “sources” for christ sake instant events are being reported. Yes, some may see that as being “tabloid” but in fairness in MOST cases events are related factually and such scoops should be applauded not as in the case of fmk just hanging on for the smallest slip up and then pouncing….glass houses spring to mind !!

  4. fungus_fitzjuggler says:

    Accuracy versus timeliness. A juggling act. I am pleased Gavin has sources in the LUL and that they still speak to him. Blogging is all about rumours. When the rumours are widely and independently reported then they gain credibility. That used not be the way. Given the msm approach as trumpeters for moguls and their lackeys, no source is trustworthy any longer. They can only help us to gain a better grasp of a very complicated reality. Speed is very well worth achieving. Gavin is too much of a milquetoast for my liking, but he may be more than a sheep in lamb’s clothing… He seems to be able to make and keep friends as sources, which is a useful gift. I will keep reading his blog as the rest of you complainers will. Until evidence of deliberate inaccuracy comes to light.

  5. niall says:

    Jesus titty-fucking christ. As one of your readers who actually works as a fucking journalist, rather than a pontificating, sanctimonious, ego-inlated eejit with barely the ability to read a newspaper or watch a package LET ALONE produce one, allow me to step into this debate with perhaps a shade more experience than some of your detractors.

    Let’s just have a look at exactly what he said:

    This has been the big story of the day. According to my own sources he was wearing a bomb belt, and according to one witness he was:

    Another passenger on the train, Anthony Larkin, told BBC News the man appeared to be wearing a “bomb belt with wires coming out�.

    We shall have to wait for confirmation.

    The above is exactly the kind of proviso required when delivering the info as presented to Gavin. Someone he knew worked for LU, someone whose honesty/accuracy had presumably been established at some point in the past, gave information relating to the shooting. Gavin reported it and added as the conclusion to a very short post that the information would still require confirmation. What part of the last sentence do people not understand??

    Every broadcaster going live from the tube station used the info in exactly the same fashion – reporting it as “eye-witness accounts” but pointing out that it was still not confirmed by official sources. Gav even included a similar quote from the BBC website which relayed the same information.

    Perhaps I would complain that Gav’s piece might better have started with the BBC quote, then followed up with his sources which appeared to confirm that account – in fact, I’d doubt the furore would have arisen if it had happened that way, as it gives more equal weighting to both sources, rather than appearing to base his comments primarily on the info from the LU employee.

    But Gavinsblog is not a piece of journalism proper, and the above remarks do not detract from my opinion that Gav was entirely justified in the way in which he presented the info. My criticism is purely stylistic. Sorry for not leaping into the fray earlier, Gav, but I do feel you have been harshly judged in this instance – particularly when the BBC, held up in this country and in some of the critical posts on the issue, did things exactly the same as you.

  6. niall says:

    As an aside, it’s also worth giving the nature of your anonymous sources (i.e. “someone connected to LU”), when you’re not identifying them – people naturally mistrust completely unknown fonts of knowledge.