Philippa Thomas Online

Life and leadership coaching

Man Bites Dog


It’s that kind of story for those obsessed with new media.

Political journalist Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic – respected, insightful, original, and no I don’t know him – has announced today that he will blog no longer.

He talks about the destructive energy of the relentless feedback loop, and the exhaustion he feels from maintaining his “web based personality”.

In our Brave New World of New Media and personalised outreach and interaction, it’s a must read.


Author: philippathomas

I've been a BBC newswoman for 30 years: reporting from around the world. Currently to be seen anchoring BBC World News TV. Main interests - politics, psychology, reading, trekking, and all things American. I began this personal blog as a 2011 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard. You can also find me talking daily news on Twitter at @PhilippaBBC, coaching @positivecoachi3, and life & travel on Instagram at @philippanews. Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “Man Bites Dog

  1. Philippa,

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve struggled with the idea of blogging from the get go. In my two years writing a paid blog (as opposed to my personal blog), I never did get the voice right. In truth, I’m not sure I wanted to; I wouldn’t have expressed it like Ambinder does, but I think I share his discomfort with blogging. I don’t like having my journalism be about me.



    • Hey Michael, there’s a conventional wisdom isn’t there, which says the new sustainable journalism is all about community and conversation, “personal branding” and interaction. I think I find it an enjoyable challenge, but not to be taken lightly. I think the implications, the fallout, seem cosmetic at first glance but are in fact a radical reworking of what it means to be a journalist…

  2. Hi – thanks for this. I met your brother at a gathering last night, and – as a journalist and blogger – I was fascinated to hear about the Nicco Mele’s course, Digital Media, Power and Politics, you are taking at the Harvard Kennedy School.

    Indeed, envious!

    So, it is great to get a taste of it, here.

    I used to be disdainful about blogging (why write for nothing?). Now I love it.
    I started blogging as an experiment. But once I pressed that “Publish” button, I was hooked.

    My blog is: self-expression, a social history record, a way to teach myself online digital publishing skills, a collection of my work, a place to promote my beliefs, a shop window for my services. And led, eventually, to paid work. I am now a web editor, online publicist and teach social media skills.

    I feel pleased with myself that – at a time when my beloved print world is in disarray – I have successfully managed to transfer my journalistic skills online.

    • hi Elizabeth, thanks for your comments, and Ive been enjoying your websites (my brother sent me a handful of links). I’ve just subscribed to your writing blog. Wondered how much traditional media take up you are getting on your Tesco campaign ie how much are outlets like local newspapers and radio searching/sourcing online do you think? And fascinated by your online debate about bloggers and unions.

      I am looking forward to immersing myself in the UK social media scene when I come back from the US next summer – I’m deep in the theory right now with Nicco Mele and Clay Shirky (Here Comes Everybody) as lecturers – I’m now looking for the most creative examples of British online grassroots journalism so do shoot me a few other examples!

      Good to be in touch – Philippa

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