Marriage rules

driving licence with points

Whose points were they?

A Leveson inquiry into the Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce speeding points case would recommend statutory regulation of all married couples.

The call would be backed by academics who were no longer married or who no longer drove (or both) and a celebrity campaign group called Driven Off. And the Leveson report would state Pryce’s name was Price (with an i) changed to sound posh – because an un-verified Wikipedia page said so. Continue reading

Monday Tweets

Screen Shot of Tweet

Retweeted 53 times before 9am Monday

Monday morning must give tweets maximum exposure. Presumably because many Twitter users do not use Twitter at the weekend but start looking on the way to work on Monday or once in the office.

I tweeted a joke on Friday afternoon that was retweeted a bit. But this morning, before 9am, it was retweeted 53 times and seven people made it a favourite. It was still being retweeted as I wrote this. So Monday morning must be the key time to target tweets for maximum exposure. Continue reading

Odd champions

Champagne Mumm

I’ll drink to that (Flickr: e_calamar)

Here’s a post-Leveson quote: “Not all journalists are listening in on our telephone conversations or stalking the celebrities that sell their newspapers. Should we actually be looking more closely at ourselves?

Why do we care what Sienna Miller and Hugh Grant are up to? And do we really want our politicians to control the only people who are able to hold them to account? What will be next in line to face regulation? Twitter? Blogs? Democracy?”

And so it goes on in a more positive light: Continue reading

Graduate advice

I had a letter from a graduate that was just so appalling – they invariably are – that I started to write to tell him. My wife said the criticism might be enough to push him over the edge so I stopped myself.

She’s probably right. But how is he ever to know that he is getting it so wrong? As his errors were similar to errors I see in these sorts of begging letters all the time I wondered if I should share the lessons. Of course I am an arrogant know-it-all, but this is what I would have sent: Continue reading

Letter to my MP

Big benn and a streetlight

The press must be able to shine a light on politicians

I have written to my MP, Joan Ruddock, asking for her support for press freedom against proposals for legislation to introduce a regulator. The text is below:

Dear Ms Ruddock

Please do not vote for any legislation to establish a regulator of the press. There has been a long-established principle that the state should not intervene in the freedom of the press and this remains important.

Please stick to principles. Please do not vote for statutory regulation (or regulation with a statutory backstop) just because the Labour Party is in opposition and wants to give the government a bloody nose (as it did recently over the zero budget increase for Europe). This is too important for yah-boo politics. Continue reading

“Trusted friends”

Leveson

Leveson reading a “trusted friend”?

Leveson’s report includes just 456 words on magazines, if you exclude the case studies on OK, Heat and Hello. It makes just two references to the “4,765 business to business magazines” and barely touches too on the “515 consumer magazines” he mentions.

Leveson does say: “Whereas newspapers are essentially ephemeral, and understandably have developed a reputation as tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers, magazines are kept and referred to because they are considered to be a “trusted friend”.

He also says: “Most of these consumer magazines are specialist interest titles of varying sorts and are not engaged in the sort of news and current affairs reporting, or reporting on individuals, with which the Inquiry is primarily concerned.”

So the question for Leveson is, why try to regulate them? The question for the NUJ is why they called for huge swathes of their honest and ethical members to be treated like criminals?

 

Fine for Leveson

Leveson

Leveson, wrong, wrong and then wrong again

The press were fascinated by Leveson today but the public were interested in the simultaneous event going on in court where SAS soldier Danny Nightingale was released – after a press campaign to free him. Hurrah for the press.

Leveson did not ask for examples of good journalism, only bad, so that’s all he got. The Leveson report is an example of biased research and reporting. A statutory regulator would fine him and demand a right of reply. Continue reading

Citizen journalist

Men-of-Harlech

Tweet to Aggers and reply

Proper journalists such as me are supposed to hate citizen journalists. In fact, we’re supposed to call them “witness contributors” or something else suitably PC, according to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Well I don’t. I like citizen journalists. I like a lot of user-generated content.

I like the fact that communities get involved, tell us stuff, send in reports and photos and now take video and audio and comment. It adds loads and takes away nothing. I too am a citizen journalist – last week for BBC Radio’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew and for Test Match Special. Continue reading

Give me a break

X-ray showing broken bone

X-ray showing broken bone

This blog post is written using Dragon Dictate voice recognition software for Mac. On Sunday I broke my right arm just below the shoulder. Although I have insurance, it made more sense to try dictation software to see if I could continue working.

I’m sure with practice get faster, but it goes at this speed the whole time, I’m going to be unable to be productive. For example that last sentence I dictated with only one mistake–the software thought I said reductive instead of productive. Continue reading

The Last Post

Covers of Post Mga newspaper 1 September 2011 and magazine 8 September 2011

Post Mag redesign 1-8 September 2011

I recently completed 10 months as acting news editor of the insurance industry legend Post Magazine – so called because it was the first magazine ever sent by post. It has been going since 1840. I saw a lot of changes in those 10 months.

We switched format from newspaper to a smaller magazine design. Initially we could still put news on the front page but that was dropped in favour of a magazine cover each week. News stories inside were replaced with more analytical, heavier researched pieces. News went online. Continue reading