February 02, 2006

Horse 488 - Media Watch (of me?)

I'm always interested to read some of the flotsam and jetsam that flows around the world wide web. It appears as though even this little cul-de-sac on the information superhighway has come to the attention of the "architect of The Daily Telegraph's P-plate campaign"

Just on 13 months ago, The Daily Telegraph ran a series of articles devoted to road safety among younger drivers. I'd searched the contents of the newspapers over the previous 14 days before I'd made my assessments and reached the conclusions which can be found in Horse 242.

Ricky Sutton who used to be the news editor of The Daily Telegraph and if I remember correctly The News of The World in the UK has made his reply and is also attached as a comment in Horse 242 (but only on 31st Jan 2005). Subsequent to this was a follow up in Horse 256. The final conclusion to this occured in Horse 262.

Mr Sutton has also made comments within Prawn's blog also on this subject. The Prawn was arguing the apparantly silliness of imposing a curfew on P-Plate drivers.

What I find somewhat strange about the whole affair is the The Telegraph itself would respond to critiscisms of the tone of its news reportage. I'd questioned the motives for their reporting and their push for sensationalism.

To wit:
But most troublesome of all for me, is your comment about our perceived lack of "objectivity in reporting".All the details in the reports are factual, yet you appear to be suggesting that a newspaper exists to be a record of history rather than being entitled to have an opinion.If a newspaper is not to have a view on a topic which is killing more young people in its region than cancer and drugs combined, then that paper should consign itself to history.It is the vanilla flavour of much of our so-called quality media's coverage that is leading readers - especially young ones - to desert them in droves.
- Ricky Sutton, ex Editor in Chief of the Daily Telegraph 31-01-06.

There's an interesting point to be made here. The Daily Telegraph is a Murdoch paper and has been critisised by people in much higher places of import than myself over its practices and slant in order to sell newspapers. Perhaps similar in character to The Sun in the UK which is also Murdoch owned, the Daily Telegraph will often fill its space below the masthead with something equally flash.

If my complaint was to do with a "lack of objectivity" and you counter that with the argument that suggests that it isn't the purpose of the newspaper, then my question is what then is the point of the newspaper? If it isn't to inform and entertain (a record of history - ie what's happened) then what is the point of the paper? If it is to espouse an opinion then surely I should be allowed my own opinion - which is the primary purpose of a blog is it not?

What finally convinced me was that The Telly dropped all coverage on the subject after the 30th of November and the final day of elligibility for the journalism awards. They could argue that it was no longer newsworthy but if the paper is not a record of history and intends to have a view on a topic, it fell silent on the matter incredibly quickly.

And why make a comment some 13 months later anyway?

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