Tag Archive | "blauth’s blog"

New owners, old necessities

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Great newspapers need time to evolve. Many decades passed before papers including the Times, the Guardian and the Mail became trusted organs, charged by their readers to keep an eye on those in power. Read the full story

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It is war’s prize to take all vantage…

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An illuminating review in this week’s Economist of ‘Iraq: From war to a new authoritarianism‘ by Tony Dodge. Read the full story

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Listen to the people speak

It used to be that people bought newspapers to confirm their own prejudices. The lofty pronouncements of illustrious columnists, written in exquisite and educated prose, put into words what readers thought but were unable to say as clearly and with similar erudition. Read the full story

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A life dedicated to free speech, liberty and logic

On Wednesday, 4th of July, in London, a Polish-born and naturalised British journalist died. He was 92 years old and had written a weekly column in the Polish press in London, primarily the Polish Daily, for over 50 years. He wrote his final column four days before his death. Read the full story

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It’s time to start paying attention

Francis Wheen, arguably one of the finest journalists writing today, is distinguished not least by the clarity of his writing and the precision of his focus. Last week, in the Daily Telegraph, in an article headlined ‘Radio at the time of the Queen’s accession: forgotten fandangos in my sock drawer‘ he made the point that “… amnesia is the handmaiden of hypocrisy”.

What he means by this is it’s now a given that politicians (and the powerful people in whom news journalists have an interest) rely upon ever-shorter memory spans among the reading public to continue upon paths which may not always be for the general good.

He wrote: “A week is not only a long time in politics, but also the maximum attention span of much of the public, which is why so many news items burn as brightly but briefly as a firework on November 5. It’s like the life of Solomon Grundy*: a crisis looms on Monday; MPs scamper round radio and TV studios making a hullabaloo, which provides Tuesday’s headlines; on Wednesday, the party leaders exchange pointless insults on the subject at Prime Minister’s Questions. By the weekend, after more buck-passing and harrumphing, a new crisis looms. What was the previous week’s fandango about? No one knows or remembers, until they find it in their sock drawer two years later.”

Wheen’s article neatly encapsulates two opposing concepts alive and well in the world of journalism today: First, that there is more good than bad news writing and attendant comment available than you might believe. Second, that fewer and fewer people really care whether there is or there isn’t and are, dare one say it, poorer for it. How? Not least because they regard official statements and orders from government and associated bodies like a faithful poodle regards the command to sit; not something to question.

If Leveson castrates and/or sterilises the press, the inference one can draw from Wheen’s article is that we shall end up with the regulators and authorities we deserve because all that stands in the way of poor government and regulation is good journalism – and long memories.

*Solomon Grundy, Born on Monday, Christened on Tuesday, Married on Wednesday, Took ill on Thursday, Grew worse on Friday, Died on Saturday, Buried on Sunday. That was the end of Solomon Grundy. Childrens’ nursery rhyme, published 1842, in case any of our readers cannot recall the reference…

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Papers open the cracks

So much is being written about the economic/financial/banking/political Euro mess that it is hard to know where to turn for objective facts. For sure, apart from the FT, it’s not the dailies. Right now it is hard to see what, other than fomenting panic and political unrest, they are doing. Read the full story

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.


(Source: POLIS)

 

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