Friday, 22 January 2010

Picking Up The Pen

Pete Brown's latest post reports on his success in challenging some of the data used by the BBC News website in their 'factual' reporting of numbers of alcohol-caused deaths and costs to the economy. He urges readers to use his research to challenge dodgy statistics and other errors when they spot them.

With this in mind, I've just written to the Radio Times to clarify the source of stats used to buttress an article on portrayal of alcohol and pubs in the latest issue, written by their Soaps reporter Gareth McLean. I've used some of Pete's figures to counter the arguments presented about rising consumption (as we know, over 10 years, consumption, especially in the on-trade, is falling). We'll see if they use the letter, but even if they don't, I'm going to persist until I know how and where he got his numbers.

It's all got me thinking about whether there's any benefit to trying to set up a system of alerts around the beer blogosphere, so that many voices can respond instead of just one or two. Some charities use letter-writing successfully, the obvious example being Amnesty, and Greenpeace also had (have?) a pool of supporters with sharpened nibs poised. CAMRA have used postcard mailings to MPs as a lobbying tool. What do you think? Do orchestrated letter-writing campaigns have any place around here?