Unspun had a whiff that something was up in Malaysia and in the journalistic/blogging circles when a Facebook entry cited Uppercaise in a posting that asked: Rocky to lead media onslaught against Najib?
Uppercaise’s source was another blog, Cat Out Of the Bag, apparently penned anonymously by someone with connections the the DPM’s office. Uppercaise said:
Word has been going around about what Rocky of Rocky’s Bru (Datuk Ahiruddin Atan) would do next, after leaving Redberry group at the end of his contract in May. Speculation was that that he would once again be involved in media as point man for a new political campaign.
He’s planning a new blog… he’s planning a new web site…
Now a new blog fingers Rocky as leading an online media onslaught against Najib Tun Razak, the Umno president, whose precarious hold on the prime ministership looks even more tenuous day by day.
Rocky had risen to prominence by using his blog and his network of blogger and journalist friends to campaign against the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi government and the New Straits Times….(read the rest here)
For what Cat says, and an update today, read here .
So is it true? Is Rocky, someone whom Unspun knew from The Star days and then met again recently at the 1st ASEAN-Malaysian Bloggers Conference in KL in April on a campaign against the Malaysian PM?
Unspun was curious, so he did what years of being a journalist had beaten into him: He went to source. Unspun tweeted Rocky and asked if any of this was true. The reply came in a tweet asking for Unspun’s email address and a surprisingly candid account of this plans and reasoning behind it. Unspun asked if its OK to blog about it and he said yes, so here’s an excerpt from the email:
I had the idea of setting up a blognews portal 3 years ago, even came up with the name The Mole, short for Malaysia On Line. But it was going to cost me RM80k to hire some guys to maintain the servers and set up the page so when the Malay Mail offer came, I quite happily dropped the idea.
Now that the Malay Mail is behind me, and it is no longer is so costly to start a portal, here I go again.
The Mole won’t take on the existing portals head on. We will complement them. While Kini, Insider and others are based on the classic newspaper/editorial model, the Mole is a hybrid:
1. a blog/social media aggregator (we surf top blogs all day long and pick up news usually hidden in the piles of postings)
2. a “validator” (like a News desk we will make it our business to get each news item that we’ve decided to fetch from the blogs CONFIRMED or DENIED, something bloggers almost never do re their own postings)
3. Bringing journalism to citizen journalism (we will create editorials around the above blog postings .. This is where contributors like Ramon Navaratnam vs Dr Muhammad Ariff come in and slug it out).
4. Etc (clean up postings, direct traffic, create an interactive and regional blog community that will enable us to set up a database, organize programs, lucky draws etc)
Very skeletal crew. I have Shamsul Akmar and Firdaus Abdullah and Aziz Hassan and plus me that’s a little over a century of journalism experience. Four younger reporters working full time. As for the four of us I’ve made it mandatory for us to keep our day jobs.
Ok, why am i doing this? Many reasons. Quite sick of existing blogs being too partisan, too involved in politics themselves. Or that’s the perception.
Blogs are also living credibility with the birth of the troopers. Most times they do break the story but too many half truths and quite a few outright lies. I fear people will lose trust in blogs as a source of news if there’s no effort to help verify these blognews.
Also Bro, way too many blogs and twitter to follow out there. The Mole aims to create the sort of a social media paper that publishes what you need to know from blogs rather than what the blogs want you to know….
Rocky is one of those bloggers that has as many fans as he has detractors so how this all pans out should prove quite interesting. Unspun’s too remote from the Byzantine ways of Malaysian politics to analyze it too much so would, like a boss once advised him, sit back and watch developments like one would watch Discovery Channel or Nat Geo Wild.