Saturday, April 17, 2021

Save The Free Press

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As #SaveTheSunNewspaper trends on Twitter, an analysis of the sorry state of the British press should act as a wake-up call to our nation suggests Matthew Steeples

Yesterday, ‘Save The Sun Newspaper’ was all over Twitter. Those clicking the hashtag were not taken to a page bemoaning the fact that the Rupert Murdoch owned paper has lost £68 million in the last year alone, but to a Go Fund Me campaign that has raised over £16,500 that will be donated to the Essex Coronavirus Action Urgent Food Bank Appeal.

 

Set up by an Essex based food bank campaigner named Simon Harris, #SaveTheSunNewspaper garnered support because of the intense dislike for a newspaper that some claim is “not fit to wipe their arse with” whilst others (especially the people of Liverpool, a city where it is mostly banned due to their crass reporting of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster) condemn it for its “lies” and “bigoted” reporting.

 

Whilst the ‘fake’ hashtag was about helping foodbanks, on Sunday night, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade highlighted a genuine problem for the British press. In an article titled: “Why our newspapers might not survive the contagion of coronavirus,” the media commentator observed: “It is the bleakest of ironies: the biggest news story in a lifetime is killing off the very industry that exists to report it. Coronavirus is destroying newsprint newspapers across Britain, delivering the coup de grace to businesses that were already in the process of dying.”

 

Whilst it has been for long known that traditional media has struggled to cope and find a way to exist and maintain revenue streams in a period where online and social media have battered it, coronavirus, it appears, will be the death knell for many a print newspaper.

 

Just like, for example, the restaurant sector, which will likely see many establishments fail to reopen once this pandemic is over due to them not having the resources to get their staff back and pay their rent and suppliers, many print newspapers – most especially local titles – will not weather the storm. As Greenslade points out, “it seems inconceivable that publishers, already struggling to fund journalism, will return to the previous status quo.” Going further, he remarks: “That’s because the status quo was, itself, one of perpetual fragility in which publishers were engaged in the delicate task of managing newsprint decline while, in parallel, seeking to create a digital journalism business model.”

 

Here comes an epoch of change and with newsrooms across Britain currently completely empty, publishers will indeed start to rationalise when so-called “normality” returns (in whatever form that takes). Expensive city centre offices will be shut and like cancer, profitless titles will most likely be permanently closed down. This will not be a loss that should be glorified and it will not be something that should celebrated; without good journalism, we’ll all be the poorer. Those thinking we can rely on the Twitterati for news are in for an era of the emperor’s new clothes and they’re in for a future where fake news will quite wrongly reign.

 

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Twitter: @SteepleTimes and @M_Steeples

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. A New Year and in 2017 yet again Steeples Times fails to prioritise the important matter of dear Gerry and Kate McCann’s beloved daughter Madeleine’s kidnapping. These evil journalist pigs did nothing to help FIND MADELEINE and they need regulating and closing down. Do the right thing and support FIND MADELEINE, FIND HER NOW. REGULATE THE PRESS. IT MUST BE DONE. Well done Max Mosley.

    • Are those the possible two liars who gave evidence at the inquiry and appear to have lied freely. Public opinion seems to state that Madeleine Mcann died in 5a .and her body was later transported in their hired car or so the sniffer dogs tell us. The reaction of the parents is best described as gross. The so called spokes person Clarence got it wrong too because the shutters were never jemmied. To be honest Pam you need to take a long walk down a very short pier. Hopefully Grange will show us some truth because I trust Nicola Wall. Goncalo will win his case finally and publish his next damning book. We feel there will be justice for Madeleine and as sure as hell you won’t like it. There won’t be a get out of jail fast key from Portugal, and neither from the Fraud Squad in the UK.

  2. In principle, I support ” a strong and independent media that is capable of exposing the ludicrous and the corrupt.” I’m sure we all remember that farcical gagging order involving a paddling pool, a titleless hypocrite, and some olive oil. Sad, sad situation which ended up getting more and more absurd.

    However, that wasn’t what happened in Max Mosley’s case. It was originally printed that he had taken part in a sick orgy which had a Nazi theme as its focus. In fact, there was no Nazism involved and the story amounted to little more than a sad old man getting some admittedly bizarre pleasure out of being smacked and paddled.

    The Nazi allegation, however, turned out to be very damaging to Mosley – who had spent his career trying to distance himself from the stigma of his parents’ associations. He was fortunate in that he had the money to sue the News of the World. But even though he won his case, he admitted that his lawyers’ fees eclipsed the amount awarded by the court by about £30,000.

    Obviously, this is an impossible amount of money for the average person to afford if they happen to have something untrue and damaging printed about them. In part, that’s why Mosley started his campaign.

    He might perhaps go a bit too far in what he’s campaigning for, but I suppose his motive is understandable. I would just say that there needs to be a balance where the press is concerned.

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