Links I like 11.09.12

The Guardian’s readers’ editor on…the presumption of innocence and the reporting of arrests
I am a fan of The Guardian’s readers’ editor column, which analyses the paper’s judgements and explains them to readers who’ve often been moved to criticise it. Today’s column looks at recent reporting of high-profile arrests, which have later seen suspects released without charge but not before they’ve been identified first. Cases such as Christopher Jefferies (which I’ve blogged on recently) and, more recently, Rebecca Leighton have raised huge doubts about the way the media appears to rush to judgement in its reporting of some crimes. This piece explains some thinking behind these judgements – although it’s worth asking whether The Guardian would have needed to give the story of Rebecca Leighton’s release ‘due prominence’ had it not named her in earlier reports immediately following her arrest.

Some feelings on phone hacking and journalism

News of the World
Classic front page, featuring F1 boss Max Mosely

I’ve followed the unfolding phone hacking saga with interest over the last couple of years, since The Guardian first broke the story, and with amazement as the crisis escalated to claim The News of the World, which has been culled today.

It’s an amazing story, which everyone has commented on but no-one connected with it – including those of us who buy tabloids without complaint – comes away completely untarnished.

It’s a struggle to think of anything original to say about what’s happened this week; but, hey, here’s a couple of thoughts, based on my own experience and feelings.

Continue reading “Some feelings on phone hacking and journalism”

Churnalism website highlights an ‘old news story’

The irony of The Guardian’s piece yesterday about a new website which exposes the extent to which news items are lifted from press releases is that (fascinating though it is) it is hardly ‘newsworthy’ that this happens.

The Media Standards Trust’s Churnalism website allows readers to paste press releases into a ‘churn engine’ and receive a rating which shows the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material. It’s a very clever way of highlighting the issues surrounding the interface between journalism and PR, which is often portrayed as undermining the very fabric of democratic discourse in this country.

Continue reading “Churnalism website highlights an ‘old news story’”

‘Andy Gray-gate’ highlights slack media practice

Andy Gray’s sacking today after another of his puerile outbursts (this time to colleague Charlotte Jackson last month, above) has taught him a harsh lesson. Someone of his experience should know that ‘private’ (as in off air) comments are still fair game if someone within earshot finds them offensive enough to share with the media. In fact, if you utter them in a room full of people, it isn’t very ‘private’ at all, and therefore probably best kept to yourself.

Continue reading “‘Andy Gray-gate’ highlights slack media practice”

Links I like 11.01.23

‘Rupert Murdoch’s arrogant empire must be reined  in’ – The Observer
One of a number of pieces about the News of the World phone hacking scandal in The Guardian’s sister paper today. Campaigning journalist Henry Porter draws our attention to the ‘bigger picture’, reminding us that this story is about much more than one high profile individual. It is about more than celebrities having their phones hacked too; ordinary people routinely suffer far worse, as Christopher Jefferies can testify. And it is now emerging that more papers could be sued by people whose privacy has been trampled over. This story is not going away any time soon.

Continue reading “Links I like 11.01.23”

Spokesman becomes ‘the story’ some would rather ignore

I blogged recently on the media’s general reluctance to report on matters involving itself, which became impossible following the irresponsible coverage of the Joanna Yeates murder investigation.

And so it is with yesterday’s resignation of Number 10’s former director of communications Andy Coulson, who quit amidst continuing allegations over his role in the phone hacking controversy at the News of the World. In doing so, he has sparked one of the stories of the year; one which refuses to go away and which his former employers at News International would probably much rather downplay.

For evidence of this, you only need to look at the coverage that followed yesterday’s announcement. The Guardian, who pursues this story with an almost obsessive zeal, went to town on it again yesterday, with a mountain of analysis and questions about the police, governance at News International and David Cameron’s judgement.

The coverage on the website of News International sister paper The Sun, however, is much less critical.

You can see Mr Coulson’s statement, issued yesterday, in full here.