Hi, mainstream media. Can we all stop with the Zoella-bashing please?



Last week was big for the YouTube world. Jim Chapman hosted a BBC3 documentary about the ‘rise of the superstar vloggers*’ and Zoella – possibly one of the most recognisable faces of UK vlogging – hit 10 million subscribers, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the mainstream media.

It was disappointing to read one of my favourite media commentators, Roy Greenslade, speak so disparagingly about the young content creators who are changing the rules of the entertainment industry and building careers by being approachable, savvy and incredibly determined.

The first sign in the Evening Standard piece that Mr Greenslade really knew very little about the world he was criticising was when he selected a Zoella make-up tutorial to cynically break down into derogatory soundbites. (more…)

When will male comedians realise that misogyny is neither funny nor acceptable

We_Can_Do_It!Last month, whilst on a little city-break to Dublin (which, by the way, is an awesome city) I found myself in the dream situation for a cash-strapped creative type in one of the most anecdotally expensive cities in Europe: I was standing before a sign advertising free comedy.

The venue in question is the basement of a pub called The Stag’s Head in the bustling Temple Bar area. They host Comedy Crunch every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – it’s always free and they even give you a complimentary ice cream, which is great. But even a truck load of Lyle’s syrup wouldn’t have been sweet enough to assuage the sour taste left in my mouth after enduring 20 minutes of misogynistic bile spouted by the headlining so-called “comedian”. (more…)

Just one example of why we need to make better journalism


“The internet is killing real journalism!”

I hear this phrase in some iteration at least once a week. Over wine talking to fellow journalists, on Twitter from disgruntled reporters, during my favourite media podcasts over and over again, and surprisingly often from interested bystanders who have no involvement in the industry. The fact that BuzzFeed is poaching the Guardian’s staff at lightening speed is either proof for or against, depending on your argument.

I’ll tell you what isn’t killing journalism though: the fact that anyone with something to say can find an audience. The fact that blogs set up in someone’s living room can gain worldwide attention, giving huge platforms to people like Jack Monroe, Laurie Penny or Jessica Valenti: people who don’t necessarily fit into the “middle aged, middle class white male” that used to be the face of 99% of the media. (more…)

Judy Blume has just released her latest novel, and it’s making grown women squeal


Last year I had the great pleasure of meeting the woman who created some of my best childhood friends: the author Judy Blume, best known for her young adult fiction, who at the age of 77 has just published her fourth novel for adults In The Unlikely Event.

I remember the first time I read a Judy Blume book – I somehow acquired a copy of Forever at age 8 and ploughed through it, simultaneously enthralled by the teenage love story and baffled by the concept of the enlarging penis called Ralph. I quickly moved on to her more age-appropriate novels, some of which I read and re-read so many times that the pages had to be taped back together.