Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Triesman, treason, or t'reason..?

It seems the entire world has a view on the Lord Triesman scandal, exposed by the Mail on Sunday last weekend, in which a 'friend' recorded a private conversation during which the chief of England's 2018 World Cup bid is alleged to have spoken of conspiracy theories surrounding rival bids.

The MoS in particular has come in for a huge amount of criticism from most quarters, with many questioning why they would run such a story.

While I am not about to defend such a, well, quite frankly, rubbish story, I do find those voicing their anger at its publication rather hypocritical.

I mean, let's be right, this woman is hardly a class act is she? Despite her Clifford-inspired follow ups informing us of her "flowing flame red hair, a slim physique and ivory skin" and boasting her credentials as "impressive academic".

Please. Let's look at the facts:

* In the same piece we are told of her writing a blog giving us far too much detail of her alleged "relationship" with the 66-year-old.
* She purposely recorded an hour-long conversation with her alleged "friend" for use later when selling her story.
* Allegedly took her story to several (meaning most Sunday I would presume) newspapers before settling on a suitable "arrangement" (fee).

Now, forgive me if I don't totally believe that this was all done for some sort of greater good, or in the public interest.

And the MoS has quite rightly got quite a lot of stick for running it. Which is fine.

However, why aren't the same people slating the paper calling radio stations or writing to the PCC every single bloody week complaining about stories published on exactly the same basis as this one?

I'll tell you why; because they invariably involve a footballer or a politician shagging around, at no real cost to us.

The women will generally have done exactly the same; tipped off the press about the story and made a good lump of cash for doing so.

But the great, down-to-earth, angry of Manchesters aren't out then are they? No. Because the kiss-and-tell stories we lap up every week don't involve us losing a fuckin football tournament.

It's pathetic really. Just look at Johnny Workingclass crawling out of the woodwork now, undoubtedly with a tabloid newspaper featuring similar stories under his arm, ranting about what a disgrace the paper is.

Spare me your holier-than-thou bullshit people. You love it. But because it means you might not get to travel around the country beating up similarly deluded football fans without getting on a plane is not a reason to suddenly assume journalistic morals.

The best way to voice your disgust at this would not be to phone up a radio station, or write on an internet forum, it would be to STOP BUYING THIS STUFF.

Seriously, if these people avoided any newspaper with a similar story published inside, they would soon stop running them. Honestly.

So please take your pompous and hypocritical bullshit and shove it.

And yes, that includes you Melissa Jacobs. Don't pretend to be some paragon of virtue when you've sold a private conversation to the highest bidder.

We would all respect you more - from Melissa to the editor of the MoS to outraged Johnny Normal - if you were all just honest about your reasons.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Please, for God's sake...

Now even I'm getting fed up of it.

Yes, it's AGAIN.

I have been made aware of a massive problem that clearly someone at Northcliffe, or at whatever regional centre runs Gloucestershire's site, has overlooked...

Many people, particularly with a relaunch only weeks ago, would want to contact the site to let them know what they think.

So, a contact form is vital you would imagine, and there duly is one on hand (see below).

So, you fill in your comment, yet when you click the 'Send' button, disaster!

You are presented with a page from the beta version of the OLD (again, see below)!

And yes, you can navigate around the OLD beta site to your heart's content.

Let's hope there is no embarrassing content uploaded on there as a test...

For fuck's sake people, how shit do these sites have to be before someone does something?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Cash cow? How?

I seem to have seen it on every news page and read it on every news website more than 1,000,000 times in the past six months.

Open a newspaper now and look, yep, there it is.

I'm talking about the web plug. And I don't mean a box reading "Tell us what you think at", I mean something different, a new kind of space wasting...

"Follow us on Twitter"

"Find us on Facebook"

It's these bastards I'm talking about.

Now, I can understand a plug to the site from a newspaper - although on every story on every page is, frankly, ridiculous - but to flag up twitter and facebook accounts seems a complete and utter waste of time to me.

While I'm sure it's great for anyone who knows nothing about anything (they seem to feature more and more prominently in newsrooms don't they?) to say "ooh, Mr Charlie Big Bollocks, we now have 14,000,000,000 followers on twitter".

And I'm sure fellow know-nothing, who drives a company BMW, will respond about how great that news is.

But why?

Why is it great that someone is (probably) costing the much under-funded editorial budget far too much money to put stories on twitter, or facebook?

Yes, each may garner a few dozen more links for a story, but really, do we need someone giving serious time to this pursuit, which I can only assume is a case of vanity on behalf of each site, or newspaper?

Now, it would be different if someone had told me how much money they were making from such endeavours, but we all know that the grand total of income generated from having an infinite amount of friends on facebook is... Zero.

And twitter? Yep, zero.

Let's be honest, in reality, facebook and twitter don't really know how to make money from themselves, so why the hell would the ever backward-thinking newspaper industry suddenly be any different?

And please, someone tell me why we are taking up far too much space which could, ultimately, be used for exactly what people DO pay for - news.

I'm sure someone, someday, will come up with the framework for us all to make off these things (just as we were told they would with the internet 10 years ago, but how you doing on that one?) but until they do, why are we wasting time and resources on such folly?

I ask you.

Yet again, as I so often whinge on about, it is the misinformed and clueless managers employed at newspapers who will trumpet these things, as a smokescreen for their own failure.

You watch those middle managers hark on about success on facebook. They will lap it up, because equally-clueless senior management (who are too old to know what a laptop is, let alone anything else) will believe every bloody word they say and issue a directive that all reporters should immediately be tweeting their stories from the field before getting copy to newsdesks...

Honestly, it makes me want to turn into Adam Boulton.

By the way, I'm sure you can follow this on twitter, or facebook, or something... But you may want to just come back and read it next time?

Monday, 10 May 2010

A few funnies - and not-so-funnies...

Well, here's a few more of the best the web has to offer from news sites across the UK (and beyond, if we can find them)...

Just for pure comedy value really, as it's a sub's wet dream of a headline to write...

I'm afraid there are a few from our old friends this time around - as obviously I am being a good reporter and following up my review...

This is just pure joy. I feel for the kid really. And what's he doing on the site anyway?

This is a real beauty as a follow up to my review.

We were told by the digital publisher in said review that more news channels would follow in the "coming weeks and months" to make the new-look Northcliffe site a lot better for readers.

Well, we have one of the much-vaunted new channels, in the form of 'Crime'. Nothing wrong with that, but comparing the 'Crime' channel to the front page and 'News' channels, perhaps said digital publisher (dun dun duuuuuh!) was right to hold back on running before he could walk (I mean, copying stories to more than a couple of channels is a challenge for anyone eh?)...

The two stories which grabbed my attention here were:

'Gloucestershire train travellers shock as shopping trolleys dumped on track'*


'CCTV pictures released after diamond ring heist on Cheltenham High Street'**


...when I checked the 'Crime' channel, these stories were nowhere to be found!

If you're going to do it, do it properly. It does, however, explain a lot about the poor start the new site has had (as have many, many others in the Northcliffe stable).

What also explains a lot is this excerpt from the previously mentioned blog by the digital publisher (dun dun duuuuuuuhhhh).

"It’s Saturday afternoon and I’ve been battling with technical gremilins on TiG this morning.

Actually it wasn’t me personally – I am not the most gifted person with technology – it was the team up in Derby and down in London who do a great job keeping the Thisis sites working.

There was some problem with caching (whatever that is) which meant today’s stories didn’t upload this morning so apologies to everyone for that. It should be functioning better now.

Are you kidding me?! A digital publisher (dun dun duuuhh) who is "not the most gifted person with technology" and doesn't know what caching is?

Please, this really is getting fucking stupid now...

Gawd bless TV reporters on election night...

I must admit, I have never been filled with a lot of respect for TV news reporters.

While many are, or seem to be, nice enough people, most are blatantly uninformed when it comes to anything, even the things they are covering.

Harsh? Maybe. But I have taken many phonecalls from superior-minded reporters, expecting me to hand over a contact simply because they are on TV and want to blatantly lift my story.

However, I was filled with a new-found sense of respect for the bods in front of cameras at counts up and down the country during the General Election coverage.

Particularly entertaining was the way many of them had to fill the first three hours of coverage with pure bullshit while nothing happened. "This is the door where the candidates will enter the count" said one woman from the gym her count was taking place in. "These chairs are where the counters will sit" said another form an equally-anonymous gymnasium.

Bless 'em. It's a thankless task making this sound even slightly interesting, but they soldiered on.

Then, just when most of us were slumped over our laptops trying to maintain some sort of coverage while running out of coffee and only two fags left in the packet at 5am, they were still there, front-and-centre, looking just as dashing as their first bulletin.

You've got to admire that. They way in which they preserve their faultless hair and makeup despite standing in a cold, boring election count for an age, is surely praise worthy?