تمام مطالب دسته بندی: British Journalism Review
Catastrophes of war

Catastrophes of war

So far as the British press was concerned, the exclusive of the war was probably Sir Peter Stothard’s intimate portrait in The Times of the 30 days he spent with the Prime Minister between 10 March and 19 April. If it did not have quite the military-political significance of Napoleon at Waterloo or Lincoln at Gettysburg, it nevertheless provided readers with an insight into processes that are usually concealed from the public. If the overall effect was of a few episodes of The West Wing, that in itself is illuminating. On the one hand, the insiders at No 10 are reported to be fans of the show, in which politicians are portrayed (by good-looking actors) to be serious, sane, sagacious […]

Hackademic heavyweight

Hackademic heavyweight

This is what they call “a sprawling family saga”, of the sort people without small children get to read on the beach. It is a tale of interlocking and feuding family dynasties over several generations: a quest for power, money and sex. As such, it is very long and sometimes confusing. The first thing to be said about Roy Greenslade’s book is that it is a towering achievement. Despite its hackneyed and misleading title – which makes the book sound far slighter than it is – this is a full-scale history of the British press since 1945, from the war to Rebekah Wade, a unique work and something anyone seriously interested in our business needs to have on their shelves.

Journalism by the book

Journalism by the book

Everyone believes he or she has a novel inside them (“And most of the time that’s where it should stay!” respond the knackered, uncharitable readers of publishers’ slushpiles). Ninety-five per cent, I think, of novels submitted to publishers don’t get published. Of those that do, few enough make any waves, fans, or money. Of course journalists are leaders of this throng. We’ve already proved we can string a few words together… look at that Zoe Heller, Booker-shortlisted, or Wendy Holden, all over the bestseller lists. Plenty of us think we can do 100,000 words instead of the 1,000 – or at least try. They say that when a certain newspaper changed to a new computer system there were 59 unfinished […]

United we fall

United we fall

Some 20 years have passed since the sports writer Julie Welch was sent to interview an international footballer. Lunch was ordered and small talk was exchanged, then the player came to the point. “I was wondering about the fee,” he said. “Fee?” said Julie. “That’s right,” he said. “I thought, maybe £۲۵۰?” Julie shook her head. “Out of the question,” she said. “I couldn’t possibly accept it.” He stared at her, confused. She smiled at him, indulgently. There was a brief silence, and the interview proceeded without further mention of money. It couldn’t happen today, of course. The money would have been agreed weeks earlier, along with lines of questioning, duration of interview, status of restaurant and numbers of flattering […]

The Cardinal of Farringdon Road

The Cardinal of Farringdon Road

I think the most telling quote – and, my God, it was a hell of a choice to make – about the departure of Hugo Young was in the paper that Hugo was largely responsible for saving, The Observer. It came from Will Hutton, who wrote on 28 September 2003, six days after Hugo’s death: “There is one voice less this week, that of the political columnist who set the bar for the rest of us in his quality of writing, genuine influence and independent moral authority: we rarely, if ever, matched the high standards he set. His column had the capacity to be a political event in its own right, so igniting a trend or illuminating an issue that […]

Rows and consequences

Rows and consequences

What a mess. How could the BBC and a Labour Government that was basically sympathetic to the Corporation have got into such a mutually damaging conflict? That this conflict has been sustained at every point where it could have been contained has not helped. As for the basis of the Hutton Inquiry, the nasty smell of two apparently selfish behemoths, (followed by the usual ravening press mob), bearing down on one professional man – who had broken the terms of a contract he must have signed and who had made errors, but who was a respected authority in his field – will not be dispelled fast. The last two licence fee settlements the BBC has received – one each from […]

Chill wind in Zimbabwe

Chill wind in Zimbabwe

The most difficult survival technique I had to learn, after coming from Zimbabwe to the UK to study, was how to cope with the cold of an English winter, an adversary that can be as relentless as any enemy. But the Zimbabwean Government has closed down the paper I work for, The Daily News – founded in 1999 and the only independent daily newspaper in the country – so I remain out in the cold. I had just completed my studies at City University, London when, late in the evening of 12 September, I received text messages and e-mails from my colleagues at the News telling me armed police had suddenly appeared at the company premises to confiscate computers and […]

Diary daze

Diary daze

It was a curious time. The UN was in turmoil over the imminent Iraq war, Londoners were braced for a possible chemical attack, and I was thumbing through the Public Schools’ Yearbook reading about bursars, Hilary Term and Divinity. I was investigating whether Harrow School had had its CCF machine gun requisitioned for the Gulf. A world I had completely forgotten about had suddenly sprung back into life. After an absence of nine years, I was back doing shifts on the Peterborough column. Not on The Daily Telegraphbut on the Daily Mail. The Telegraphhad rebranded their diary The London Spy, and two former Peterborough editors decided it would be a great wheeze to pinch it for the Mail. However, since […]

Pick your fights carefully

Pick your fights carefully

When the row between Government and the Todayprogramme erupted I felt again that moment of nervousness that was familiar to me and, I suspect, most of my contemporaries at Panorama. The fact that we were often paranoid did not always mean that they were not out to get us. We might have felt pleased and proud to have got a story on air but we knew there would be repercussions, and sometimes we could not tell how far our colleagues and our bosses in the BBC would support us. Occasionally, facing hostile reaction, we might wish we’d told the story just slightly differently. Relations between the government and the BBC will always be uneasy. A great independent broadcasting organisation with […]

1 2 3 4