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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

A CLEVER, IF SNEAKY PIECE OF JOURNALISM

On Sunday I received two photographs from the Daily Star. They asked me to identify them, and after consulting with Darren Naish, Jonathan McGowan and two vets (Aurelia and Shosh) I wrote the following email to the newspaper:

'Hi Marc,

Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you. Having checked with a zoologist, a big cat tracker and a vet we think it is a large domestic cat, probably a Russian Blue, or a crossbreed with Russian blue ancestry.

Jon'


The article, when it appeared, made no mention of my email but wrote:

A British wildlife organisation said it had proof the animals were still alive and well in Britain.
And Jonathan Downes, director for the Centre for Fortean Zoology in Devon, said: “We know there were lynx living in Britain 1,500 years ago, but could they still be here?”


I did actually say that a few days earlier, it is true, but it was in answer by a question from a different journalist, from a different paper, and in answer to questions about the lynx that Max discovered in the vaults of Bristol Museum. So whilst technically the newspaper has done nothing wrong at all, it performed a clever piece of journalistic prestidigitation with that quote.

And they didn't even have to hack my telephone to get it.

2 comments:

RR said...

Which brings to mind the old X-Files maxim "Trust no one! (especially journalists)"

Neil A said...

I also got sent the two photo's and commented it was a domestic species.