The custard pie in Rupert Murdoch’s face was unwittingly a PR masterstroke!!

July 20, 2011

The “custard pie” that landed in Rupert Murdoch’s face at yesterday’s Commons Committee “interrogation”, added a farcical element to the whole News of the World Phone Hacking Scandal, but by doing so diffused some of the hostility directed towards the News Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive. This mindless act singlehandedly did more in terms of favourable PR for Rupert Murdoch than any endless amount of press releases produced by PR agency Edelman, newly appointed to counter the crisis by News Corporation.

Forget Corrie, Eastenders, Emmerdale or Hollyoaks – “The Fall of the Murdoch Empire” has been the best soap opera on TV in the last two weeks. Ironically as the curtain was falling on the BBC2 series “The Kennedys”, a US soapstyle mini series about great wealth, power and politics that ultimately corrupts and comes back to haunt and destroy the family…….what do we find, but history repeating itself with “The Murdochs”!! A number of media pundits have likened the saga to William Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, with Rupert Murdoch in the lead role as an arrogant, bombastic old man caught in a raging storm, but equally you could liken the drama to “Hamlet”, where “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” or in this case “something is rotten in the culture of News Corporation”!! There is clearly an endemic cultural malaise within News International’s tabloid titles and Rupert Murdoch can try and distance himself from any hands on involvement owith the News of the World and The Sun, but the Chief Executive and founder of any organisation creates and moulds the culture of that organisation. (more…)

The Day the Closure of the News of the World became World News!!

July 9, 2011

When a newspaper becomes the news, it is worrying but surely not necessarily terminal?!! Progressively throughout 2011, News International and the News of the World have come to dominate the headlines of the print and broadcast media in the UK and further afield. The great irony is that the News of the World, the standard bearer when it came to exposure of private and public scandals, has become the centre of a media expose and scandal, championed by the Guardian, as a result of how it went about it’s investigative journalism!! The expression, “Live by the sword, die by the sword” springs to mind, but nevertheless was it not a gross overreaction to close a national newspaper and iconic brand that was completely central to the fabric of British culture?!! (more…)

Why Press Releases are becoming more important to the hard pressed media

March 15, 2011

The Media Standards Trust has recently launched a new initiative and website to “help the public distinguish between journalism and churnalism”. “Churnalism” is the growing practice, whereby a press release is “cut and pasted” into a publication without any editing, qualifying or corroboration. This phenomenon has come about as a result of newspaper, magazine and broadcast operations vastly reducing the number of reporters and sub-editors within their organisations, to counteract and compete with the low overheads of Digital / Internet / Online publishing. This is particular problem in the regions, where the four main regional newspaper players Trinity Mirror, Johnson Press, Northcliffe and Newsquest have spent the last five years slashing journalists jobs as part of ongoing cost-cutting exercises aimed at making outlets more profitable. (more…)

Subbuteo returns to emphasise the chasm between the simple game of football of the 1970s and the modern day multimillion pound corporate industry.

September 4, 2010

A regional daily newspaper has found a new way around the ban on photographers imposed by Southampton Football Club – by using Subbuteo table football figures to recreate a match!! The Swindon Advertiser invented this surreal idea as a way of covering the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match between Swindon Town and Southampton, as the latter brought in the controversial ban on press photographers at its ground last month, stipulating that newspapers should instead pay for images taken by its own professionals.

Although no longer possessing the power and clout they once had, regional papers have quite rightly refused to buy the club’s photos and many have found alternative ways of covering the game, including using pictures from cartoons.  Anthony Marshall, chief sports writer at the Swindon Advertiser, decided to use the popular football game of the 1970s, Subbuteo, to recreate key moments from the match.  He meticulously painted the plastic football players so they were in the correct colours and set up a pitch in the office of the local newspaper.  He then recreated  the match on the Subbuteo pitch and had photos taken of the key incidents.  Anthony Marshall summed up the farcical situation at St Marys, when he commented: ” Regardless of their history – when a club in the third tier of English football starts talking about image rights then you know something is drastically wrong with the game we all know and love.” (more…)