Content Marketing

Never Seconds’ Martha Payne Free to Blog Again

When creating content, challenges such as copyright issues, debates over censorship, and how online content affects the offline world are bound to arise.

However, while a content marketer can always defend and strategize on behalf of a brand, when an individual’s content comes under pressure, it can shed light on the power and dangers of content.

In the case of Martha Payne, the 9-year-old Scottish girl who attracted two million readers to her blog Never Seconds, the ending was a happy one. After a fight with the local council over her right to post photos of her school lunches, she announced on her blog on Friday that the ban had been lifted.

Payne started the blog at the end of April with her father, posting photos of her school lunches and rating them on a “Food-o-meter” scale.

The blog quickly gained popularity, in a little over a week receiving 100,000 visitors and a tweet of congratulation from the chef-turned-food campaigner Jamie Oliver.

Payne started asking readers to help raise money for a charity called Mary’s Meals that brings food to East Africa. Photos of school lunches started being sent to Martha from all over the world, and at Martha’s school, children were allowed to eat as much fruit and salad as they wanted.

Despite her good intentions, Martha fell under school scrutiny and was banned from taking photos inside her school.

According to The Guardian, the problems began when newspapers picked up on the blog. Martha had been posted anonymously as Veg, but newspapers named her and the school, often adding their own criticism of the food.

The final straw for the local council appears to have been a Daily Record piece with the headline, “Time to fire the dinner ladies.”

Martha was banned soon afterward, on Friday the local council reversed its ban as an online uproar started brewing. Roddy McCuish, the council leader, told BBC Radio 4 that he had ordered an immediate reverse of the ban, saying, “There’s no place for censorship in Argyll and Bute council and there never has been and there never will be.”

Martha had built a community around her blog, which meant she had support when she needed it most. While there might be a divide between the online and offline worlds, the case of Martha Payne shows the impact on can have on the other.

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