Daily Mail accusing BBC of double standards? Come off it… For journalism’s sake

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An article on the Press Gazette‘s website today reported on the Daily Mail‘s criticism of the BBC, after the corporation admitted using private detectives at the Leveson Inquiry.

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Centre, London (Photo by Panhard).

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Centre, London (Photo by Panhard).

To me this is a rather foolish route to take, as not only does it reek of hypocrisy, it also does nothing to help journalism as a whole.

While obviously newspapers and broadcasters shouldn’t shy away from reporting about Leveson, because that would only breed more distrust in the industry, to resort to ‘infighting’ via editorials seems a bit cannibalistic and self-destructive.

Holding us back

It’s now clear to all that virtually every news organisation has turned to underhand tactics at one time or another, but to continue dragging them up and mudslinging won’t help us move forward.

It will only do the opposite and hold us back.

Clearly the Daily Mail’s agenda against the BBC comes into this issue as well, and the fact the BBC used licence fee payers’ money on PIs adds a different angle too, but continued attacks will only damage journalism’s integrity. This is a time when news organistions should be speaking to one another to try to move the industry forward, not just squabbling about who’s to blame.

Read more of Wordsmith:

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Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

Great Metro headline

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Great Metro newspaper headline for Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace match report

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Metro match report headlines

Metro might not be the most hard-hitting, investigative newspaper in the country, but for all the criticism some people give it, I for one think it’s very effective at what it does.

It shifts hundreds of thousands of units each day, something all papers are finding it more tricky than ever to do now, and has got its style just right for what it aims to do. In particular, I think the above headline, from today’s report about the match between Crystal Palace and Cardiff City, is great.

Concise

Eight words long, concise, with clever (but yes, pretty clichéd) wordplay, containing the names of both teams involved. As a sub-editor I admire that. I think most subs would.

It just struck me as doing everything a headline needs to do. Ok, it’s not The Sun’s iconic “Gotcha”, but how many headlines ever match that? Not a lot. This one is better than most.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

Is there a Royal Wedding happening soon? It’s not like the papers have covered it much…

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Yeah, we get the picture...(by Nick Clapp)

Excuse me, but is there a Royal Wedding this month? I was just curious, because there doesn’t seem to be much coverage of it.

That is apart from the small amount of coverage which has been given by every national newspaper, every day since it was announced!

Four papers

Today, believe it or not, is no exception. Look at the front-pages of the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror. Kate Middleton is on each one.

Four of the eight main national papers have gone with her picture. Why? They aren’t even good pictures, or at least nothing special.

Flog that dead horse

I know, as we all do, that when there’s a dead horse (which this story is) you flog it for all it’s worth. But come on, this is bloody ridiculous.

Clowns to left, jokers to the right, stuck in the Middle with you...(by Nick Clapp)

The Mail and Express have even used the same “Kate shapes up for her big day” line. I know they’re practically the same paper, but try an inject some originality at least.

Blanket coverage

I am one of the few people who, it seems, is actually looking forward to seeing the event, especially as it seldom happens. But, I think we’re all tiring of this blanket coverage of every minor thing Will and Kate do.

Please papers, give it a rest, at least for a day or two.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

Advertisers have got newspapers right where they want them, now they’re going in for the kill

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HSBC cover ad for Telegraph (pic: Nick Clapp)

This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while, about the way advertising in newspapers is changing.

It’s no secret the industry is dependent on adverts. Newspapers especially rely on advertising for most of their revenue, and so have to bow to the pressures of the ad men.

This has become even more apparent in the last few years, as papers lose more and more money.

Amazing changes

However, something amazing happened recently which really showed how much things have changed. At least I think it was amazing.

The Daily Telegraph, the only British paper which has maintained a traditional broadsheet style, came with a cover advert. That’s right, a cover advert.

Why is this a big deal?

Control

Simply because it shows now how much control advertisers have over newspapers.

Clearly to carry out such a huge campaign (it was for HSBC) still would have cost an astronomical amount of money.

But a few years ago this would have been unimaginable. Now, it’s a reality.

Good and bad news

This brings with it good and bad news. The good news is that it clearly means advertisers are still willing to pay for newspaper ads, and see them as the main way to get their message across, so at least they won’t neglect the industry.

The bad news is, as papers have to make more and more money from advertisers and squeeze out every last penny, they will have bow down to pressures a lot more and resort to things like cover ads.

This is the kind of thing which could eventually destroy a newspapers reputable image.

Just look at last Friday’s Independent for another example.

Five ads over two pages of The Independent (pic: Nick Clapp)

Spread across pages 30 and 31 were no less than five ads. Five. That’s an incredible thing to see, especially over just two pages.

Short term solution

Newspapers are struggling to survive, so in the short term selling such large chunks of each paper seems like a good idea.

But if this trend continues and gets worse, then I fear it could eventually lead to our most respected publications becoming nothing but colourful picture books.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

Monday’s newspapers: Fat people rejoice thanks to ‘wonder pill’, and shed a tear for Simon Cowell

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Monday's Sun and Express (Pic: Nick Clapp)

Hurrah, it’s good news for fat people, at least according to the front-page of The Daily Express.

Their splash is about a “wonder pill” which has “more than double the slimming power” of current drugs.

Sadly, as we all know, stories like this have come and gone before.

New weapon against obesity

 Will this “new weapon in the battle against the country’s spiralling obesity epidemic” (wonderfully powerful language) work?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Page four of The Times today has a funny story about Boris Johnson getting up to his old tricks.

Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London has asked the “entire newspaper industry” to come clear about its use of phone hacking and similar methods.

Frankly, this is a pretty ridiculous suggestion, for two reasons.

Firstly, no newspaper in their right mind would confess to such tactics unless they absolutely had to.

Secondly, if they all did, then the amount of cases which would come to light would be staggering.

Shed a tear for Cowell

The most sympathetic (or just pathetic, depending on how you see it) story of the day has to be The Sun’s front-page.

It suggests that Simon Cowell’s “huge workload” could lead him to “an early grave.”

Now, not only is this completely unsubstantiated (the quote comes from a “source”) but even if it was true, it’s quite hard to believe.

Tough job

It’s not as if he’s chasing criminals or working long shifts on a hospital ward. He’s presenting TV shows. That’s not exactly stressful.

Even if it was, I’m sure he’s got enough cash to keep himself in good health.

Excuse me while I wipe away a tear.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

So Murdoch’s News of the World ‘hacked’ phones. So what?

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Is there anything wrong with phone hacking? I have to say, I don’t think there is.

Let’s face it, this kind of thing has been going on for years. To say it’s only a tactic that’s been used by the News of the World is too naive.

Journalists come and go between newspapers all the time, and so do their methods of getting stories.

All newspapers

I would bet at one time or another, all newspapers have accessed voice mails and messages in this manner.

But what’s the problem? Journalists uphold standards of journalism, and journalism in turn upholds standards of democracy.

News has a crucial role in holding to account those who need to be held to account.

Yep, in the public interest

The defence of ‘in the public interest’ has been used many times, but that’s because it’s such an important one.

As a society we deserve to know what those in power and positions of responsibility are actually doing.

It’s through methods like this (though not directly) vital stories about MP’s expenses and injustices have come to light. Surely that’s benefited society?

If those people who are being ‘hacked’ have done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to fear.

Celeb double standards

But what about celebrities? Don’t they deserve better? Well arguably yes.

But they can’t have their cake and eat it.

If they truly want privacy, why are they staging shots for the paps and doing everything they can to stay in the public eye.

You can’t phone a photographer to tell them where you’ll be to get your picture on page three of the Daily Mirror one minute, and then be complain when they try to get your messages the next. Double standards?

Our conversations have been listened to for years by the government’s own hacks as they bring about a Big Brother state.

I’d say that’s more worrying than some millionaire actor or politician being rightly held to account.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Sorry ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish again

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So Kelvin, as you say in today’s Independent, you’d shut all the journalism colleges down eh?

He proclaims “there’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper.”

That, for a start, is completely wrong.

If you’re to become a complete journalist and learn the real necessary skills needed, you need some kind of training.

Learning the skills

 How else will you learn about subbing, design, layout, interviewing, headline writing, use of pictures and how to structure a story to make it interesting, all at the same time?

If you took “the old-school route” as he puts it, you would be thrust into the job without having a clue how to juggle these requirements.

Yes, you would learn some basic stuff, but not very well or in any great depth.

No time to fail

On papers you don’t have time to fail, because of the pressure on you and the hundreds of people waiting to take your job.

You need time to make mistakes and learn from them, and learn about how a newsroom works before being thrown into one.

Best in the business

 There’s a reason I’m studying journalism at UCLan. And that’s so I can learn from some of the best former, or practicing, journalists out there.

The skills I now have can be applied to a vast plethora of jobs, not least PR, advertising, marketing, copywriting…the list goes on, and it’s a long one.

MacKenzie is living in a dream world if he thinks it’s that easy to “go straight from school and join the local press.”

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

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