I’m
not sure anyone would describe Andrew Landeryou as a butterfly but his
decision to use a blog to “spread the joy” as he states could be the
“butterfly that flaps its wings in Africa causing the hurricane in
Florida” – that old chestnut trotted out by chaos theory geeks
everywhere.

A bit of background on blogs for Crikey readers. As I see it there are two things you need to know:

  1. Blogs have been used to devastating effect in the US to
    take down bodgy journalists and lax fact checking – the biggest scalp
    the bloggers claimed was none other than Dan Rather in the now infamous
    “Dubbya National Guard Scam.” He was by no means the first or the last…
  2. This will get techie – but stay with me. Because of the
    ways that blogs are set up – they spread like wildfire – Andy Landy’s
    Blog has been up for less than 24 hours but is already racing up the
    search engine rankings and has attracted commentary and links from
    dozens of fellow bloggers (did I mention there are over seven million
    of them – up from five million at the start of the year). Blogs use a
    protocol called RSS – you don’t need to know what it stands for – but
    you do need to know that it allows information to spread faster than a
    Budget leak in Victoria.

Let’s look at Landeryou’s
situation – on Friday he was holed up at the Melbourne Assesment Prison
watching the 6 o’clock news and seeing very bad file footage and dodgy
sketch artist drawings. He is as low as he can go, about to be made
bankrupt and his companies put in liquidation.

In
the pre-blog world his only option was to sit back and take very bitter
medicine (from his point of view – I don’t want to comment on the
merits of the case – I’ll leave that to my fellow journos.) Let’s fast
forward to today. Through the blog he has been able to get his side of
the story out to the public – unedited by the traditional media. He has
already pointed out some serious errors in reporting and interestingly
– in less than 24 hours – has been a magnet for some pretty interesting
(if unsubstantiated) information about the Melbourne University Student
Union affair and his dealings with Solly Lew.

My fellow media
workers and I are at a serious disadvantage to bloggers – we have
deadlines and very little time to get our head around the facts.
Bloggers like Landeryou are intimately involved in their subject and in
some cases it is the sole focus of their lives. Our errors are quickly
spotted and with the power of blogs, they are magnified by the power of
social networking. With Landeryou’s blog (is he creating the new
playbook for playing the “accused” in the 21st century?) my colleagues
are going to need to tread warily.

This is one development Crikey readers will want to watch with great interest.