26 July 2006

I’m sorry, I haven’t a Cluedo….

Congratulations to the Evening Standard for winning this week’s piss-poor journalism award.

Tuesday’s Final edition screamed a front page picture of a Charlotte Maltese, who was murdered by a man she ‘met on the internet.’

The headline of the main story (pg 4) yelled just as loud about Charlotte Maltese being battered to death with a candlestick by lover Martin Inglis, 37, an IT consultant and 'martial arts expert' that she met ‘in an internet chatroom.’

Glossing over the fact that the couple had been living together for at least a couple of years, and split up and then got back together again, The Evening Standard, in its usual moral panic type way, was obsessed with the fact the couple met on the internet.

‘Don’t ever meet anyone you find on the internet,’ was the overt message from the UK’s most right wing tabloid.

Forgot wives and girlfriends that get murdered by husbands and boyfriends they meet at work, in bars, in the supermarket and at dogging sessions in suburbia. Forget the weird-beard Tories that die performing sexual acts involving bin-liners and oranges. Forget the thousands, perhaps millions, of people that live long and happy lives having met via the internet. This girl met her death as a direct result of using the internet, apparently. Don’t use the internet ever, it’s evil….

In short, it's a dreadful article. Who was responsible for it? At a guess, a buffoon, in the office, with a PC.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bet they got most of the information for the article from the Internet anyway!! I think it is far to say that the Evening Standard does far more harm to people than the internet ever could!!

Kasteera said...

Dear God! I met my husband because of an internet chatroom, though not in one, does this mean I am living on borrowed time?

The most sickening is not that such mis-leading journalism happens but that there is a need to jazz up a murder in the first place to make it more newsworthy.

Anonymous said...

There are examples of piss-poor journalism wherever you look. Unfortunately, a lot of it goes un-noticed and un-checked and is then served up to us all as daily news.

Most of these 'reporters' seem happy to follow the path of least resistance - it is far easier to regurgitate a spoon-fed story or follow an editorial policy than it is to actually check your own facts. Blame the hacks, blame the editors - but most of all, blame the publishers....most of whom are following political agendas of one sort or another...

figgis said...

how about the proprietors? going to blame them all too? what about tony o'reilly at the indy - his paper certainly pushes his anti-European integration line doesn't it?

I’m quite surprised at your lack of any respect/understanding of the media. I’m assuming you're a PR, so presumably this spoon fed nonsense is the material you are sending them?

Anyway, it strikes me as bizarre that someone in the industry would make such sweeping statements. Especially bearing in mind the original post was about damning sweeping statements, generalisations and idiot logic...

Iain T said...

Yet another moral panic piece. But this kind of guff should be come less and less of an issue as people grow upo with the internet as a fact of life rather than a new invention.

....the world's leading.... said...

Hey, Figgis,

In addition to your assumption that TWL is a PR, you also presume that all stories in the media are 'spoon fed nonsense' from the PR industry...which in itself isn't showing the media much respect or demonstrating a great deal of understanding, is it?

As my othjer half often tells me, to 'assume is to make an ass of you and me'.

figgis said...

and you my friend, Miss TWL, assume the comment was aimed at you.

It wasn't - it was aimed at post no 3, but when there are so many anon posts its difficult to direct your comment well....

Anonymous said...

"I’m quite surprised at your lack of any respect/understanding of the media."

Figgis - I don't have any respect for the national media as a whole. Respect has to be earned, and for the most part they haven't earned mine.

As for understanding - my 'understanding' of the media is clearly different to yours. Sorry if that upsets you.

True, I am a 'PR'. I've been 'spoon-feeding' the trade & tech media for the best part of 17 years now. Spoon-feeding isn't the problem. The problem is how many journalists, editors, publishers - and indeed proprietors - choose to deal (or not) with said spoon-fed material. I hope that's clearer...

....the world's leading.... said...

Ah, right, yes Figgis, I see where you're coming from. And, yet again, I've shown by other half to be my better half, and I hate it when that happens.

Except, we're not American, so I've made an arse of myself rather than an ass...and as assume isn't spelt arseume, that little saying is null and void.

figgis said...

Dear Mr/Ms anon

I’m not upset; I like to think of myself as a hardy individual who can put up with all sorts - including reading a few comments on a blog. Ill keep on soldiering on.

As to whether your point is any clearer - well no. I’m a simple soul and no matter how many times i read the following, it doesn’t make any sense:

"Spoon-feeding isn't the problem. The problem is how many journalists, editors, publishers - and indeed proprietors - choose to deal (or not) with said spoon-fed material"

Is the problem that too many of the journalists etc deal with or don’t deal with spoon fed material?

As to all this respect stuff, you say it’s got to be earned, and you’ve been doing this gig for 17 years. So during that time you have managed to gain no respect for any media? Sounds like you might be awfully difficult to impress. Anyway if no-one has gained your respect, have you perhaps considered you might be in the wrong career/job etc?

Go on - life’s too short, get a job as a landscape gardener or a deep sea diver - all this hate can't be doing your karma any good.

Anonymous said...

"Anyway if no-one has gained your respect, have you perhaps considered you might be in the wrong career/job etc?"

Only for the last 17 years or so. But things are on the up, as I'm only a part-timer these days.

Figgis - if you read my comments again, you will see that I said 'I don't have any respect for the national media as a whole' - the intended emphasis being on the word 'national' - but I probably should have clarified by saying 'national print daily & broadcast media', or something like that. If you are happy with the way the 'national' media reports domestic and world events, then I am happy for you. My own views should probably be the subject of another blog entirely and I don't think its fair on mr/mrs/miss/ms TWL to labour the point here.

I've spent most of my PR career working on trade & tech stuff and I have no major complaints about that. None worth mentioning here, anyway...

all the best :)

figgis said...

"There are examples of piss-poor journalism wherever you look."

Yes Sir/Madam Anon, that is certainly a comment pointed at the national media (print & broadcast - are we including online?)

Also I'm a little unclear, do you not believe that technology should be covered in the national media, or are you saying that its 'piss-poorly' covered as well. If so, do you think the journalists who move from the trade press to the nationals instantly become bad reporters?

Or is it just the case that people who cover politics and war are bad reporters and the rest of those on the nationals are fine? I'm a little confused still - is it all the nationals or just a very specific niche you are focusing on?

Anyway, thanks for the update on you going part-time. I imagine the entirety of the media is devastated to hear the news.

Anonymous said...

figgis - none of my comments relate specifically to tech journos or tech coverage - national or otherwise. the topic which started all this was a story about a (non-tech) murder which appeared in a (non-tech) London rag, so I don't see why you are specifically interested in my tech views in this instance, cos they ain't got nuffin to do with it.

I don't really want to get into a long drawn-out discussion about international politics and global media management on the comments section of TWL's site. However, if you can direct me to a more suitable forum for this purpose, I will happily get stuck in..

As for the rest of your post - you suggested I might look for another career, to which I reply that I am now spending less time in PR than I used to, and you then reply sarcastically. Your temperament seems to be deteriorating even faster than mine.

maybe someone else needs a change of career...?

figgis said...

Shall we race to see whose temperament goes over the edge quicker? I think it might be yours…

The reason why I was thinking about the technology angle, is that this is a technology PR/journalist gossip blog. Hence when the subject is about a murder story that talks about technology - I assumed your comments might well involve some views on technology and how it is covered.

This is especially the case with your amusingly broad-brush statement of how "there are examples of piss poor journalism everywhere". You talked about how facts weren’t checked and journalists were spoon-fed. I called you out and suddenly it’s not about "piss-poor journalism everywhere" but about “piss-poor” national journalism. One more call and suddenly we move again and it’s actually about “piss poor politics reporting” and how you would like to take your ball home with you.

Perhaps you should go to http://www.chomsky.info?

He is well worth a read - unlike me.

Anonymous said...

"I assumed your comments might well involve some views on technology and how it is covered."

Well, you assumed wrongly. But, in any case, you do seem to have an alarming tendency for over-interpretation, figgis.

there are examples of piss-poor journalism everywhere, just as there are examples of piss-poor PR, piss-poor customer service and piss-poor blogging - although I'm sure yours will improve...

However, I made the point about national reporting, as I would suggest that failure to properly report a global news event in a national paper is a little more serious than mis-representing a story about 10gb networking in a tech mag. I have no wish to back-track on anything written earlier - thanks for the offer though.

Anyway, I really can't be bothered to explain any more, as you seem determined to try to score cheap pseudo-intellectual points with every reply. The last word is yours if you want it - I'm sure you won't disappoint...

figgis said...

Nicely set up & I do hate to disappoint a crowd...

Perhaps most of all there are examples of piss-poorly thought out /constructed arguments everywhere.

Maybe we should have a little spot the difference round on your cohesive argument?

"There are examples of piss-poor journalism wherever you look. Unfortunately, a lot of it goes un-noticed and un-checked and is then served up to us all as daily news."

"as I would suggest that failure to properly report a global news event in a national paper is a little more serious than mis-representing a story about 10gb networking in a tech mag." (marvellously pompous by the way, and I suspect clients may disagree)

Are these really the same point? I would assume (I do that quite a lot don’t I?) rather than there being examples of piss poor journalism everywhere, you are actually saying that some reporting in the national media of some events are sometimes not reported in the way you would sometimes like to see them reported. Would that be correct?

Or did I miss the memo when Captain Anon was appointed spokesperson for us all?

Love Figgis

ps - where do I pick up my pseduo-intellectual points from and what can I trade them in for?

Anonymous said...

Guess who used to work with Martin ?

Anonymous said...

The victim was a friend of mine and was too trusting of everyone. I hope that helps you decide whether the Evening Standard were over reacting or not.

Anonymous said...

How nice of you to laugh off a murder. This was a good friend of mine and we all miss her very much. She was too trusting of people, like many people who meet people over the internet. The murder was not "jazzed up" either. It was absolutely horrible and he deserves his 17 years.

....the world's leading.... said...

I don't think we 'laughed off a murder'...we were simply highlighting a typically sensationalist piece of half-baked reporting by the Evening Standard.

Of course he deserved his 17 years...probably more.