This is fairly vicious about Sunny Hundal

In what must have been a highly embarrassing process for Sunny, as I remember it he then had to declare current and future earnings to me in order to reach some reasonable financial settlement. During that process it became entirely clear that Sunny did not have a career. His main organ of distribution was a pointless self-published website which earned him no money. He occasionally earned small fees for intermittent blogs for the Guardian. But in no way did this add up either to a salary or a funded career.

I’ve actually often wondered. What was Sunny’s income? Not for any good reason, just being nosy. I know what The Guardian pays for online pieces and I know he wasn’t doing enough there to be making a living. I also know roughly what someone will get running a reasonably decent traffic UK blog. And that’s nice to aid with the beer bill but no more than that.

I’d always assumed that Sunny had some other gig as well only I didn’t know what it was. But is this correct, that he didn’t have that other gig?

Of course none of this would matter if it weren’t for the wider lesson that comes from it. I have always thought that there is something not just ludicrous but wicked in colleges and universities holding themselves out as providing ‘degrees’ in things like ‘media studies’. Generally run by hopeless individuals, they rarely help students to get into those professions they ostensibly study, and in reality do little more than mislead hopeful young people into running up large debts to get onto a ladder their ‘degree’ will not help them with. Sunny Hundal’s move to Kingston might serve as the apex of this trend: someone lecturing students on how to be employed in a profession he himself was never properly employed in.

It does sounds about as sensible as having me lecture on journalism. Someone who a) has never been a journalist and b) never lectured.

10 comments on “This is fairly vicious about Sunny Hundal

  1. I’d say that it was even more vicious about the Appointments Committee of the Uni that intends to pay him a salary.

  2. He has a few other jobs, but I wouldn’t consider that you could live off them.

    Kingston says “Sunny runs Liberal Conspiracy, one of the UK’s top three most influential left-of-centre politics blogs and his other web ventures include Rippla, which tracks newspaper stories’ circulation on social media. He also recently authored India Dishonoured, an e-book published by the Guardian which quickly rose to the top five in Amazon’s non-fiction bestseller charts. Sunny is a regular contributor to the Guardian as well as making numerous appearances on news channels including the BBC, CNN and Sky.”

    Though when the e-book is priced at £1.99 and is only 27 pages I don’t think the royalties would amount to more than the price of a single milk-shake.

  3. The length of the book works in his favour. He’d make say 48p per sale (on the basis of 40% of what the publisher makes, which would I think be about £1.20 on an eBook, 40% being about average.

    If he sells 10,000 copies he makes £5,000, which isn’t bad for 27pp but would be a bit sparse for 270pp.

    He’s still a wanker, either way.

  4. I for one am not going to celebrate this news. Sunny Hundal’s departure leaves the field free for the likes of Richard Murphy. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Liberal Conspiracy (obviously we disagree with just about everything on his blog) he was independent. That is ‘independent’ in the sense of not being bought and paid for by ‘funders’ (I think that’s the word Ritchie likes to use)

    Please note that Liberal Conspiracy has numerous posts referring to the lack of trust one can place in Ritchie’s, er, facts. They felt his, er, approach undermined their case.

    The sad fact is that Hundal’s blog is winding down not because of any lack of popularity (although he does mention losing out out to CIF and the New Statesman; isn’t it amazing how at the micro level these lefties grasp competition with both hands!). No, he is moving on because he needs the money. Ironically, having boasted about organising an advertisers boycott of NOTW, he was unable to grasp the nettle of getting advertising himself. Meanwhile Wanker Shill Ritchie trawls through lefttist funding sources promising – and delivering – precisely what they want to read.

    This has implications for all blogs. We have seen Tim Worstall experiment with sponsored posts and adverts in the sidebars and we have seen they haven’t worked. We know though that the forbes model has worked for blogger and for the site. The future is happening now.

  5. Ironman:

    “Please note that Liberal Conspiracy has numerous posts referring to the lack of trust one can place in Ritchie’s, er, facts. They felt his, er, approach undermined their case.”

    Not quite true. Sunny hailed Murphy as “a tax genius”, and has published several pieces of his on Liberal Conspiracy. You are right, though, that Ritchie has received a mauling in the comments – particularly from Luis Enrique.

  6. It appears that the bank of mum and dad allowed Sunny Hundal to promote two blogs — Liberal Conspiracy and Pickled Politics. Sunny had the gumption to try something different, rather than to directly buy a political job.

    Tim W queries: “What was Sunny’s income? Not for any good reason, just being nosy.”

    Worstall applies good manners. He does not ascribe a right to know Hundal’s income. Just nosiness, which should be dismissed.

    Other commentors have discussed Hundal’s decision to end Liberal Conspiracy. Hundal closed Pickled Politics, sometimes a very smart blog, a few years previously. I believe it is reasonable that Sunny Hundal makes up his own mind.

    Here, Hundal misunderstands [quote from Liberal Conspiracy] what he created: “But the enduring success of Guardian CIF, and more recently the New Statesman and Huffington Post, have made other general opinion-blogs redundant.”

    Sunny managed to assemble a community of contrary people, sometimes rude and disgruntled. Sometimes people agreed with the enemy. Few forums achieve that.

  7. This is fairly vicious about Sunny Hundal.

    It’s unkind, yes, but given their history hardly unjustified, and Murray’s Sunny-bashing concludes with an interesting point. If Mr Hundal is being presented to students as an exemplar of what they may hope to become, a professional journalist, i.e., one who makes a living at it, then it’s an odd choice. One might say misleading, even absurd.

    And it seems to me that if this is a misrepresentation, then it fits with a broader phenomenon in academia, where it’s possible to find global economics, geopolitics and military history being taught – typically in the guise of ‘cultural studies’ – by people whose only qualification is in comparative literature. In much the same way that lecturers in ‘gender studies’ are much more likely to have a qualification in literature than in, say, biology or neuroscience.

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