Yesterday, the Guardian produced a very sloppy piece of journalism in the Hell part of its article on Mills and Boon. You can read the full piece on Natasha Oakley's blog.
The journalist in question, Julie Bindel did not bother to properly research her piece. She simply quoted Violet Winspear from a 1970 interview and used her research from 15 years ago. She also glanced at a few back covers of the January 2007 releases. Nowhere in her article does she mention the far more up to date research of Laura Vivanco or Sandra Schwab.
At the moment, certain academics are investigating why the romance novel has remained popular and what it can tell the world about popular culture and current perspectives on the female condition. The research is easily accessible from the blog Teach Me Tonight. Why not use that research?
Why not read the books? Why not look at the latest statistics?
Her very method calls into question her integrity as a journalist. How many other corners has she cut? Can her articles on issues closer to her heart be trusted or has she done the bare minimum?
I do not mind people not liking romantic fiction, I probably would not like the sort of fiction they enjoy. I do not write for those people. What I do mind is sloppy journalism masquerading as some sort of definitive truth.
Surely if one thing has come out of the feminist movement is that women have the right to choose what they want to read. Or is her world view that of a Stalinist dictator that we must all read exactly what she prescribes?
When people report on industries or companies or indeed genres of books, they need to do their research and not to cut corners.
What people like Julie Bindel can not get away from is that romance remains the most popular genre other than religion and Harlequin Mills and Boon, the largest publisher in that genre, despite their best efforts to *educate* the masses about the evils of such things.
Right, back to my writing. I write for my readers whose intelligence and integrity are without question.