Tabloid Reporting: The Negative View

I’ve just watched the BBC News at 10 report on the allegations that the News of the World hacked (amongst others) Milly Dowler’s phone and the phones of the families of soldiers.

There was some coverage of the possibility that police were paid for information – something presumably done to speed up access to information so the paper could print before its competitors.

Yesterday, the Sun and the Mirror were both in court over accusations that they were in contempt of court by publishing information about the murder of Jo Yeates, specifically the way they reported the arrest of Christopher Jefferies.

I’d like to say all this will lead to a complete revolution in the way reporting is done, with a renewed emphasis on privacy and the presumption of innocence. I certainly think that’s what we need, but I can’t help but feel a little pessimistic.

The Strikes: Political Consequences

Bluntly speaking, the strikes don’t seem to have benefited anyone politically.

I’m not sure anyone really expected it to do the coalition any good. No government wants a strike on its hands since images of thousands of people waving signs protesting against it will dominate the headlines that day.

Ed Miliband had a very difficult line to tread as there’s some debate as to whether or not the strikes are broadly supported by the public. He tried to strike a delicate balance between attacking the government and cautioning the unions. Unfortunately for him, he did so by repeating the same prepared line in the hope it would be the only one quoted, and then the whole footage was released. Worse still, the unions themselves criticised his comments – not something any Labour leader wants to happen.

That leaves the unions. Last night on Newsnight, Danny Finkelstein pointed out the problems with the timing of the strike, arguing it would have been more effective had they waited for a year when the coalition might be weaker. It’s worth noting how little coverage of yesterday’s strikes appears in the news today.