Maybe Journalism still has a lot of growing up to do…Posted: April 22, 2011
I could hardly detain my excitement in the past two weeks; the spotlight is back on the papers – and namely some journalists – to start changing it’s act!
Firstly, Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, shrunk to a not-so boastful corner when she backtracked on her 2003 comments exclaiming she had “specific knowledge” that journalists “had paid police for information in the past.” Like a teenage school girl declaring she personally knows the hottest new rapper Rebekah, who was back then editor of The Sun newspaper, sheepishly replied she was just “comment[ing] generally.”
At an attempt to apologise, you can almost picture the disapproving shaking head from Papa Murdoch when Rebekah explains; “If, in doing so, I gave the impression that I had knowledge of any specific cases, I can assure you that this was not my intention.” Oh dear Rebekah, I wonder if you’ll be grounded for that comment.
Which brings me to the next media extravaganza of the News of the World phone hacking incident. When this story was exposed last year the British public paid little attention to sympathise with the hurt and anger of celebrities having their private life invaded by tabloid mutts. (Charlie Brooker wrote a brilliant article in the Guardian this week about this particular breed of journalists – if you haven’t read it you really should – click here!)
But what really made my lunch break last week was how Ian Edmondson (NoW’s former assistant editor) and Neville Thurlbeck (chief reporter) voluntarily, (yes voluntarily!), presented themselves to the police for arrest. Although later released on bail (until September) another two of Murdoch’s star pupils had to attend detention. Outstanding!
This all leads to Labour’s new kid on the block, Ed Miliband, to comment on the “very bad” behavior of NoW’s journalists as he called for an inquiry into the press this week. To what some might believe could be the start of “Ed-mania” (this time last year Cleggmania was rife!); Mr Miliband quite bravely put it out there; “I think it is in the interests of protecting the reputation of the British press that these matters should not simply be left to rest, and lessons have to be learned.”
Three cheers for Eddy!
No sarcasm intended. Ed strummed the strings of my own heart when he went on to criticise the current self-regulatory body of the press “My strong instincts are that we do not want governmental regulation of these issues, but I don’t think the Press Complaints Commission has covered itself in glory.”
Ed explains; “It is not about government imposing this on the press, but I think the review needs to have some independence, both from government and from those involved in the day-to-day running of newspapers. I think that would help the industry. There has to be a sense that the future is not going to be like the past. Wider lessons have to be learned.”
And who knows, one day soon it could be a whole new ball game in the playground of the British newspaper industry. You really couldn’t make this stuff up!