Skip to main content

Why buy a newpaper?

From Norman Lebrecht's blog, Slipped disc, on Arts Journal:

"Waking up this morning, I turned to radio and television for updates on the Polish disaster, then bought the newspapers. Wish I hadn't.

Both the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph splashed a grinning jockey on their front pages. The Observer featured a third-party leader and his wife. Two papers noted the Polish tragedy in a squib beneath the fold. The Observer found no space for it on its front page.

Even in the most retrained light, this was an event that defined an epoch and will redound for generations. It is the first time in living memory that the governing elite of a large country has been wiped out - the first time, perhaps, since Stalin's Katyn Massacre of the Polish intelligentsia, which the neighbouring nations were about to commemorate after almost seven decades of Russian denial.

The repercussions for Polish-Russian relations and for the balance of power in Europe are incalculable. In much the same way as football is shadowed by the 1958 Munich crash that destroyed the Manchester United team, politics in Europe will never be the same again.

Yet none of the British Sunday newspapers saw fit to change their lineup in the 24 hours before publication, dropping some articles and shrinking others to make space for detail and analysis of the terrible event. Columnists would have been called back from the races to write a fresh op-ed on the developing situation.

A decade ago, editors would have followed their news instincts and cleared the front pages. Today, the watchword is 'resources'. When an event of historic magnitude hits the desk 12 hours before publication, there is no money, no flexibility, no reckless pursuit of journalistic enterprise. Editors stick to the flap plan. Managers count the beans. And readers are left in the dark. At moments like these, the newspaper industry declares its redundancy."


Popular posts from this blog

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…