Monday, 5 July 2010

Er … define ‘quality journalism’ for me Mr Murdoch?

If you are going to lecture the UK population about product quality it is best if your own wares are pretty damn fireproof.

It was with some interest therefore that I read Roy Greenslade’s always superb blog in today’s Guardian which can be viewed HERE. For those that are short of time it appears that the Sunday Times, complete with its own brand new paywall, has lifted, unattributably, a story from a free website called Gentlemen Ranters for use in its own paper. In other words, the Sunday Times has taken a free story and then tried to charge people for reading it!

My own view has always been that the bullish comments made by News International senior executives prior to the launch of paywalls for The Times and The Sunday Times were a hostage to fortune. To be blunt, if you are going to tell people that they are going to have to pay for a quality product, then by definition you have to provide a quality product, namely credible, well written, informative news that I can’t find elsewhere for free.

In previous blogs I’ve questioned whether The Times has the quality of columnists it once had since the departures and disappearances of Peter Riddell, Alice Miles etal to merit a paywall, but I am well aware that the issue of journalism quality is a murky pond for a PR man to wade into. Suffice to say that with today’s little scoop, Greenslade, a former editor of the Daily Mirror, has given the next generation of journalists a glimpse of what a good, well researched story is all about.

I suspect that somebody at the Sunday Times has had their knuckles rapped today but it would be wrong to single out individuals. The whole paper is going to have to do better than this.


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