When’s A Journalist Not A Journalist?

14 Jan

I last posted on this topic on 8th December following my original post on 7th August. Sorry but I’m not offering prizes for guessing correctly why I’m now posting this question for the third time. Because guess what? Wag still cannot be bothered to answer my questions. But am I wrong? Have I made my questions too difficult for them? Well from this side that is certainly how it seems. Have wag and wag food something to hide? Well maybe. Has someone made the wrong decision and wag hasn’t the guts to back down? Or is wag guilty of digging a hole and then doesn’t know when to stop digging? In the real world they could have solved their error with a simple apology, but we mustn’t forget I’m asking wag food to explain themselves, which is not just proving difficult, just jolly impossible.

The main question I’ve been asking since August, is why after editing and publishing Welsh Country for over ten years, wag food have suddenly decided that I must now be classed as purely a ‘blogger’ and metaphorically sent to Coventry. Because as we all know quite clearly by now, the Welsh Government’s policy is not to engage with the blogging community. The fact that the Welsh Government consistently fail to engage with their own producers doesn’t appear to worry them either.
On 9th December I decided to try another tack. I, as a constituent,  wrote to one of my Regional Assembly Members, who happens to be our Deputy Food Minister. I fairly sure, that despite the government saying that food and farming are so vital to Wales we have neither a Farming nor Food Minister. So I wait impatiently for a reply, assuming wrongly that AM’s have a duty to respond to emails/letters in a set timescale, but seemingly they are under no statutory obligation to respond to correspondence within a certain time frame. I would have appreciated my Assembly Member, albeit being Regional and not directly voted in, exercising some common sense and to have dealt with my constituent query herself and responded in a timely manner. But unfortunately my Regional Assembly Member was unable to do either of these things for me – but I’ll save time and ignore the rudeness. So today, as I had not received a reply, I sent a reminder. Well guess what dear readers, I did get a reply today, but not from my Regional Assembly Member and our Deputy Minister, but from our Head of Food. Who says:

Thank you for your email dated 9 December 2014 to the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food regarding your recent communications with the Welsh Government, I have been asked to reply.
We responded to you on 10 November 2014 and 5 December 2014 on these matters and have nothing further to add to our previous replies on this issue. In the absence of any new information from you the Welsh Government will not be responding further to you on this topic. If you are still unhappy with my response, you can raise the matter with the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Now would I really be wasting so much time asking the same questions if wag food had answered them on 10/11 let alone on the 5/12? Of course not, that’s so pathetically stupid that I despair of this department. What are they trying to achieve? Being labelled a blogger means wag food have stopped me using the press office and taken me off their press mailing list, so should wag food ever send out press releases, I’ll not get them sent to me. My past PR experience tells me that the more journalists, writers you can get your news out too the better. There is no such thing as bad publicity, just a different way of getting the most out of it. But having said that I’ve never had to deal with a Government before, I’ve also dealt with professional people who have to earn their living by doing a good job and getting results. With government it seems ticking boxes is more a priority than getting message and news outside of their glass tower. Wag tells me to use their website which is the most difficult website I’ve been on of late to find information. Plus it’s time-consuming. Getting press releases is a basic tool for journalists, it’s how we can compile stories, features, but of course, I mustn’t forget that wag food say I’m a blogger, forgetting or ignoring that I’ve to put together 10 pages of Welsh food and drink for each Welsh Country issue and over 250 pages about Welsh Food  & Drink on the Welsh Country website  – gosh silly me.

I’m at a loss to understand this government and the food department, it would appear both have their own agenda and top of the list is Welsh Country, the only pan Wales magazine that covers in-depth Welsh food and drink. We’ll it must make sense to them, but not sure how.

My advice to the Welsh Government and wag’s food department is when in a hole, out your large spade down and stop digging……………..


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  1. bow producer

    January 15, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Hate to do this to you, but I told you so and so did many other producers.
    You asked us to give the new guy time and for us to be patient, you had high hopes for him.
    Well now he’s dissing you after all your efforts, which is just what we expected that. I get that you were playing fair, clean slate with him, but now you are being bullied, not just by him, but by the whole dept of food and the deputy minister as well.
    I am thoroughly disgusted with what’s happened and as for not answering your questions, we all want to know why not. Why are you being called a blogger when this magazine is proof of your main role.
    You didn’t start this site until wag food stopped working with you, but that message has got through to this civil servant shower?
    It’s been said on here that this stand-off is not good for our industry, you are our only Welsh food magazine and you’re still being ignored by wag food and unfairly bullied by them too.
    Answer her questions you fools………………………
    The lack of common sense and professionalism of some of our civil servants lives much to be desired.

  2. beer boy

    January 15, 2015 at 10:57 am

    This is a scandal. I’ve no idea what is going on and why wag are being so childish and wasting so much of your time. I’ve no faith in this lot.
    Wag food and now a minister refusing to answer questions from a journalist, a journalist, not a blogger. Mr. Paxman never had this problem but then he wasn’t trying to work with Welsh civil servants and politicians.
    The government doesn’t engage with bloggers, well I don’t see the government engaging with food and drink producers either, so bloggers don’t worry. We’re treated just as disrespectfully as you are.
    People leaving comments are so much on your side especially about wag food and the government bullying you. Shame the government hasn’t got the backing you have.
    I can’t see what you can do, go to the ombudsman like you’d ever get a fair hearing from him.
    These people should hang their heads in shame, no clue how they sleep at night.

    I was another one who ticked you off for backing the new guy, he’s certainly shown his true colours now, but in truth he’s a government puppet. I really hope he hates what he’s doing and covering up for others. Must be a shock to his system now being a box-ticking, money wasting civil servant.

  3. cup cake

    January 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I don’t know how you have kept going Kath. You’ve had so much thrown at you by this pathetic government and a food dept. which I rate as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
    I’d have given up years ago but pleased you are made of sterner stuff.
    As producers, we’re biased, because we know how much effort, time and money you and Ian have put into Welsh food. You’ve worked long and hard for us and we’ve no respect from wag food. Doing tricks like this is unbelievable.
    I’d have thought even idiots would have understood what you been doing since welsh country started.
    Now you’re told by them you’re not a journalist and not an editor either. How stupid are they? I’d love to know who came up with this total load of tosh. But they’ve shown they’ll keep hiding in the dark and they’ll carry on blocking you for no valid reason.
    Put all this in the magazine, let your readers know what’s going on in this ineffective department.
    You must be gutted you’re not fork to fork, wag foods favourite company and having endless cash thrown your way.
    I know who has done most for Welsh food and drink and it’s you and Ian.
    Thanks for all the emails you send through to us and for running this site. It’s like a breath of fresh air and wag food hate you for running it. Too much truth for them and it shows them in a constant bad light. But that is their fault but they are too blind to see it. I’ve just read a comment that you only started this site until after wag food stopped working with you.
    So I’ll say to wag food, grow up children and stop bullying.
    Wag food has let itself down with such petty behaviour. But with hindsight that is what we expected, we’ve no confidence or faith in them and this on going action just finishes that off.

  4. foodie

    January 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Wag food’s action or rather blocking and bullying is difficult to understand in fact it’s impossible.
    Someone’s said give up Kath but you are no chicken and that’s what you’d be if you let these government bullies win.
    Like other comments I’ve no understanding of what they are trying to do. Or their stupidity when saying you cannot access press information because you are a blogger. It is the most stupid thing I’ve heard from this department and I assure you I’ve heard lots.
    We deserve a far better, and effective food team. But the fact is the one we’ve got now is even worse than before, well that’s my take on it.
    I’ve never heard such poppycock from the food team and I cannot get what their game plan is, only that it makes no sense and makes them look so out-of-touch with Welsh food.
    do not give in Kath.

  5. Bow

    January 16, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I’m horrified that wag food are continuing the attacks on you.
    As so many have said, it’s bullying. Some have also said there’s little recourse for you apart from the ombudsman, which means no recourse for you because he, I’m positive, will not help you.
    The idiocy of this is that you’re not a journalist, you’re not editor of welsh country magazine, but wag say you’re a blogger. Is that a smart move on their part so wag food don’t need to answer your questions and the press office don’t need to help you either. I have never heard such utter rubbish.

    Wag food are running scared of you, even though you are only trying to help your food producers and promote Welsh food. They are total idiots, that’s what they are. Only idiots would bully you and ignore the great job you have done for welsh food.
    It’s my view that this department is not fit for purpose, and their purpose is to promote Welsh food and drink as you and Ian have been doing for over a decade.
    The old department was poor but this lot, well words that you will allow fail me!
    You should run that department Kath.

  6. Parrot

    January 16, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Run that department – never in a million years.
    Appreciate your support and others that have left comments.
    It is sad the food and drink producers haven’t got a supportive food department. And I thought the new regimne would change that – how wrong I was – as been frequently pointed out!!!!

  7. Foodie2

    January 16, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Shocked at how petty this department can get! How does this fit with to Nolan’s ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’

    Well it does not, does it?

    With a budget of £5,000,000 a year what do we get for that? Rudeness, ignored, lied to, and absolutely no help for the small producer. We deserve better, a lot better.

  8. bow

    January 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    This is shocking and makes no sense to anyone I’ve spoken to.
    Wag food are being like sulky, naughty children.
    I can see no valid reason for this type of bullying behaviour. They are being more than unfair.
    Foodie 2 asks about the Nolan principles, but this is the Welsh government and Nolan is only words on paper. Nolan’s principles are: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership but who actually is on our side to make these words work?
    What is Kath supposed to do when neither wag food nor the deputy minister will not answer her main question, why she now labelled a blogger, not an editor?

    I’m horrified that the deputy minister who’s an AM that represents Kath, passes on her email to be acknowledged – not answered by the head of food. I’ve no idea who he is but he’s doing himself no good in my eyes. But then we are still paying him a fortune no doubt.
    That minister is rude, very rude and thoughtless and has been suggested stop digging and answer Kath.
    Wales, a fair and open government? Hardly otherwise they’d answer questions put to them by a JOURNALIST.
    You are as I see it, unprofessional. And my guess is that you have taken this stance because you don’t like what welshfoodbites says about you. Well you don’t like the truth then.
    So ‘clever’ civil servants, this petty behaviours from you is only making matters worse.
    Kath’s magazine has been going ten years or so and this site only kicked off in 2010. Kath told me it was when wag stopped their two pages with them, so they’d no obligation to support them as they’d done before.
    Work it out, it’s not too difficult, even for your department.
    My rant is now over but I’m still disgusted with this.

  9. BOW

    January 19, 2015 at 9:55 am

    You’ve been well and unfairly stitched up by wag food and wag itself.
    But why are they doing this instead of behaving like paid for civil servants and grown ups and working with you? This load of civil servants must have much to hide hence they’ll not answer your questions.

    Nola again and civil servants have a responsibility to be honest and truthful and open in their dealings, this has already been commented on. But the problem is WE cannot make them do so. Ombudsman another public paid dept. who’ll back civil servants. These civil servants are without a doubt bullying you and the main question to ask is why? What is the point? Who gains from this apart from our civil servant bullies?

    Why would a food dept. attack and bully the only Welsh food magazine we have? It makes no sense to us. But then civil servants are not known for their common sense and their ability to understand the grass roots of this industry! Even though that’s what WE pay them for. Someone said this dept. isn’t fit for purpose. And the more I read on this site, I’d agree. New regime in my view is as bad as the old one and that was bad.

    My take on it is that they are totally clueless and out of touch. In fairness though they’ve never been in touch with us, never.
    It’s an utter disgrace in my view.
    Bullies are cowards always have and always will be the hurt is we have to pay them.

  10. honey b

    January 20, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Civil servants are governed by the Nolan principles but who checks them? All they do is block people and Kath has given us a prime example and this has been going on for months and months. It’s ok for them to waste her time, she’s a living to earn but they get paid by us – do they know what a full hard days work is? I doubt it compared to us.
    As for anyone getting a fair hearing against civil servants, those that have maybe could be written on the back of a postage stamp, with space left.
    Kath, you’ve had a rotten deal. You’ve been treated badly by wag and wag food. I find it rude, sad, and disgusting.
    I see this as bullying. Civil servants treating you as a blogger so they can avoid answering your questions, it’s pitiful and childish and it hurts because we have to pay these fools, yes I see them as fools that bully.

  11. BOW

    January 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    The rudeness and stupidity of wag food saying you are a blogger leaves me furious.
    As you say so often Kath you could not run a business and survive like these people run this food department.
    Wag food can’t be bothered to talk to us producers unless your company is big and your face, with it wag brown nose fits and if you nose is brown you’ll fit. You are being punished by wag because you’ve always worked and helped us, so you’re now treated in this appalling fashion by civil servants.
    Not bowing to their on going pressure shows you in a great light and that’s something else they’ll not like. They are looking at you as the enemy because they cant work out you’re on their side doing much of their jobs for them because they can’t be bothered.
    backing us has cost you dear from these cowards……

  12. BOW

    January 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I’m not surprised you have had so much support and lots of comments backing you.
    In fact I’ve not read any backing the government or wag food, again no surprise, as sure you’d put those up too.
    Wag’s behaviour is shocking and disgraceful.
    Bullied and blackballed for promoting Welsh drink and food. How can that be? It makes no sense.
    As I see it, wag food must be clueless, as well as out of touch, if they cannot realise the work you’ve done and keep doing.
    It’s beyond understanding that any government department would be allowed to behave like this bunch.

  13. Parrot

    January 27, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Just for the record, all comments, once read are approved and yes they would still be approved even if they were against me.
    I edit or delete bad language of course, but your views are important not just as support for me, which I’m loving! But for others that read this site including wag and wag food!!
    Like you I don’t understand what wag and wag food are trying to do, but in reality I wouldn’t expect to. Their behaviour indicates quite clearly that the work we’ve been putting into Welsh food and drink is not appreciated by them even if they understand our efforts.
    After ten years of trying, I no longer expect wag or wag food to understand PR & Marketing and how it relates to Welsh food and drink. That sadly seems to be a lost cause.
    thanks for leaving a comment.

  14. trader

    January 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Like others I am stunned that wag food can behave in this toddler fashion and get away with it.
    Why are work together, foreign words to a bunch of civil servants it looks like they sadly know better, but I cannot see what they are trying to do and as civil servants didn’t think they were allowed to bully tax payers and certainly not a journalist. Don’t wag want and need the press on their side? Or are Welsh civil servants too arrogant to care what we think reading this site?

    Don’t let them grind you down Kath you are in the right. You do more for us in a week than they attempt, but not achieve in a year.

  15. cup cake

    January 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    You are far too good to waste more time with this government lot.
    There should be an easy way for them to be held to account and then fired if they’re proved wrong in the behaviour.
    Instead we’ll keep paying them and all they’ll get is a promotion.
    If wish we could appoint our own food department
    at least we could be certain they’d work FOR us not AGAINST us.
    I hope this latest bullying doesn’t make you consider dropping your support for welsh food and drink

  16. Parrot

    January 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Kind words thank you.
    You have not a hope this dept will change or improve and it’s a lovely dream that producers can appoint their own dept – but it’s a dram not reality.
    If I drop our support of Welsh food and drink then wag wins and bullies should never win, never.

  17. Producer

    February 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Outrageous, totally outrageous.
    We deserve a better food department and a better government but we’ll get neither.
    How dare these highly paid civil servants say you are a blogger that is so disrespectful to Kath and her super, dooper magazine.
    Civil servants haven’t got the respect that Kath and her guys have, because they don’t deserve it. If that was the case, Welsh food drink would be doing better and so as producers would we be.
    I’m not sure where you can go in Wales for justice and fairness on this matter.

  18. BOW

    February 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I believe this gov. and food dept. are in the 1st division for bullying.
    You should have a written apology that you can publish on here.
    Shame them as we have no authority to sack those responsible.

  19. Chocolate

    February 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I’m finding it hard not to be downright rude after reading this as I’d hoped wag food had grown up with new guy in place but that was a fanciful hope.
    Working within the civil service, in some farcical, obscure way this might make some sense to those there. But taking into account that those people can’t communicate with their producers and certainly cannot understand at all the things we need, they are a lost cause.
    Us working in the industry cannot grasp why this department are behaving like spoilt brats. As they don’t talk to us, they never clarify what’s happened to cause this stand off. How they think this behaviour is acceptable to us traders is beyond my understanding. Arrogant civil servants seem to think they’ve no need to explain, they can make decisions, stupid ones in the main and it is ok. Well no it isn’t.
    It strikes me as bullying and civil servants should not be allowed to behave in that manner, attacking the best magazine we have – where is the sense in that? They should be working with Kath and Ian. I can only think they are stupid.
    I view them as pathetic and as one comment left said, I wish we could appoint our own food department. The first requirement would be common sense, the second, learn about the industry and support the producers who are helping to pay your salaries.

  20. BOW

    February 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I’m furious that you’ve been put through this
    how dare wag define your role and dubbed you as a blogger.
    They’ve decided to ignore welsh country magazine then?
    What right have they to do that when they should be working for us?
    Rude, ignorant, arrogant, stupid, the list of adjectives I could come up with is endless but not many polite ones.
    You have produced from scratch the best quality magazine Wales has. You’ve shown total support for local food and we get pages and pages of food and drink which is brilliant to get the message to your readers.
    I wish there was more to I as a bow I could do to show more support for you and the team.

  21. BOW

    February 16, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Running a small business like you, I can guess how grating it is for you not only to see wag food wasting money each year, but to watch them throw money at projects like ppd and fork2fork. You’ve quoted in other news pieces £43k for fork2fork to keep their website updated for a year, well only a civil servant, out of touch with the real world, would give the go ahead for that. Over £3.5 per month, nearly a grand a week, for goodness sake, give us a break, that figure is rubbish. For achieving what? Were their viewing figures so good that that was the reason they got even more cash thrown at them? My guess is their face fits that well that whatever ideas they put forward to wag/sces, get the green light. This stinks.
    Kath keep this site running, because not only are you winnng even more support from Welsh food and drink producers, but you are driving wag food bonkers. And I for one am delighted that you are. They deserve you putting this in print – stop backing them, because I think they don’t deserve their money. Neither should they be allowed to bully you whilst fork 2 fork get money thrown at them year after year. And we all know the wag food connection that was there for fork2fork, don’t we?

  22. MR ANGRY

    February 16, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    I’m angry and angry on Kath’s behalf
    What has she done wrong to be persecuted by wag and wag food?
    In a nutshell she’s had the guts to challenge wag food with this website. Guts that the bulk of us producers haven’t got. The reason we daren’t do that is because we know how wag food blackball any business that challenges them on anything. Kath knew this, she’s aware of how wag food have behaved but she went ahead. That resulted in wag food pulling their adverts with her so we are proved right again but cannot do anything about it.

    Pulling their small support from welsh country was childish like two year olds having temper tantrums. It’s been made even worse when Kath’s uncovered how much backing has gone into Fork2Fork and the badly run PPD.
    I’m surprised that the wag food team can sleep at night, but as this is their normal practice they must be used to stabbing honest and hardworking people in the back whilst favouring those with brown noses or family in high places. That’s my take on it and I’m far from alone. This topic is often discussed at our markets and we’re backing Kath to the hilt.

    Wag don’t want to improve. If they did they’d read, learn and inwardly digest this site and talk to Kath and Ian and take on board what they say. They know what producers want – they always have done. Wag food wouldn’t recognise most of us in a line up of producers.

    I’m with other comments Kath publish, your readers need to know the truth and know now. Don’t you dare keep backing wag food.
    You are not a journalist? Bah blooming humbug.
    They are not civil and not our servants either, what a poor name for that lot.

    I don’t feel that this department is fit for purpose but they’d improve with yours and Ian’s help.
    How they cannot understand the feeling from this site is unbelievable.

  23. Parrot

    February 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for your comment and support.
    But you can’t forget that wag and wag food can do whatever they like they are the ones in charge we just feel like we are always in the firing line.
    We can only hope that sometime wag food will want to improve.
    If they thought my input was valid then they’d do something, well at least I hope they would………
    sadly it doesn’t matter what your thought are of this dept. they are there to stay
    many thanks though it means a lot.

  24. Food Producer

    February 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Set aside a page or two and tell your readers just what a food department we have working, in theory, for us.
    I can accept your point that you want to promote Welsh food and drink and give it a positive story and my goodness you’ve done a job in a million achieving that. Still I think your readers would understand as many of them will have no time for this bunch of civil servants we have, and it might just even help us and they might even give us more support. If your readers know a lot of us are scared of asking wag food for any help in case grants are stopped or we are simply blacklisted as you have obviously been. Wag have their favourite companies whose faces fit with them, and they get all the cash from wag food.
    Please think this through again Kath. I’m not knocking you, far from it, if we’d more people like you fighting for us we’d not be in this hideous situation of our food dept. not backing us.
    Producers need a union. That is the only way we can give our views without being blacklisted or bullied.

  25. BOW 2

    February 27, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    This stinks to high heaven
    I cannot believe wag are allowed as civil servants to treat a journalist in this manner, just because she speaks the truth as we on the coal face see it.
    These guys are not only bullies they are cowards.
    If they were good at the jobs this site would not exist.
    But Kath is the one that tells us what is happening, not wag food.
    grow up you silly people