Unless you are working within the media industry, you might not have heard of Fleet St Fox and her anonymous blog.
But her anonymous blog, which unearths the ‘truths’ and goings on of the press, has a following of over 50,000 on Twitter – and she now has a book out – The Diaries of a Fleet St Fox: The truest tale you’ll ever read.
Nicknamed Foxy, she has now been been officially outed by the Times as Susie Boniface, a journalist who used to work for the Sunday Mirror and who has been in journalism for 18 years.
In fact a quick google search reveals everyone in the industry obviously knew who she was – I am it would seem the only person who didn’t know…
But in The Times she also gives a two page interview (which she has written herself actually) about how her blog came about (her marriage was over and she wanted a fresh start) and naturally, with a book to promote, there is also an extract from her book.
Here, I have a confession to make. I do not follow Foxy on Twitter and although I have read her blog occasionally (her blogs are sometimes quite long, wordy and winding and take more time out of my day than I have to give to them) I do not like anonymous bloggers.
The main reason for me is unless I know who someone is, I have no idea if they are qualified to give that opinion or if what they say is truly creditable and trustworthy. So for that reason, anonymous people’s views don’t interest me.
Also, in my opinion, if you have something to say, you should be happy to stand up, be identified and be counted.
At the bottom of this blog, you will find my name and my photo. On my website specialising in selling stories to the press for the ordinary person, you will also find my photo.
I am easily contactable and easily findable. As someone who is easily found, I am also accountable for what I am writing. I am not hiding behind a veil of anonymity.
One of the problems of the internet is that there is too much anonymity. It’s all too easy to write a nasty comment on a website when no-one knows who you are. It is the ultimate trolling and if I had my way it would be a pre-requisite that everyone must be named with their real identity before writing anything online.
Susie Boniface has made a name for herself by being anonymous – despite being a national newspaper journalist myself for 30 years – I don’t recall reading many, if any, of her features or stories. I accept she might be well known in the industry but she isn’t to me. So you could argue she has now made herself well known to a wider public by writing under an anonymous name (Fleet St Fox logo and name being much cooler and more interesting than her real name and how she appears in her photo in the Times…).
But like them or not – agree with them or not – it is those columnists and bloggers who make a name for themselves writing under their real names that are to be applauded. The Daily Mail’s ubiquitous Liz Jones and Richard Littlejohn for example might annoy you with their views but you have to hand it to them – they are happy to put their heads above the parapet and speak out. And then take the flack that comes with speaking out…
Susie Boniface herself seems to acknowledge there are problems with doing an anonymous blog: “It’s funny my real name, Susie Boniface, has been in papers for 18 years and Fleet St Fox has been around for five minutes but she’s better known than I am,” she says, “… it puts a dent in your self-esteem when your creation is more popular than you are.”
Strangely though – despite revealing her true identity in The Times article – she has decided to write under yet another pseudonym with her book – which is penned by author ‘Lilly Miles…’
Whether or not Fleet St Fox will continue to be so successful – and whether her book, written by a Lilly Miles, will appeal to the wider public (who aren’t as interested in journalists as journalists think they are) remains to be seen – especially now people know the person behind it is really someone called Susie Boniface and she doesn’t look a lot like her cartoon alter ego.
The Diaries of a Fleet St Fox: The Truest Tabloid Tale You’ll Ever Read will be published by Constable & Robinson on February 21st, price £8.99.
Do you read anonymous blogs? Or do you write one? Let us know your thoughts below…