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Posts Tagged ‘john mair’

Better than North Korean propaganda?

“The North Korean’s couldn’t come up with better propaganda than the Murdoch’s.”

Nicholas Jones, famous for his previous political reporting at the BBC, described one of the Sun’s many iconic front pages. May 5th 2005 sees Tony Blair and Gordon Brown spliced in to two Manchester United football tops featuring the headline “Come on you Reds!”

When looking at how loyal Murdoch’s signature paper was to the Labour party during Blair’s run as Prime Minister, its tough to imagine that this is the same paper David Cameron occasionally wrote for and stands by to this day, despite the incredulous fall from grace the Murdoch family is currently undergoing.

It illustrates the point that Jones made earlier in today’s Coventry Conversation; for years the Prime Minister was so fearful of Rupert Murdoch and his army of media that they would dance to whatever music the fallen media baron played.

This is the effect that Andy Coulson had, or even has on the current Prime Minister. His link with Rupert Murdoch helped secure British public support of the Conservative party leader. The effect the ‘Red Tops’ have had on the country is undeniable; their persistent campaigns have changed laws – the campaign for ridding the country of plastic bags was a success within 3 days; they topple high-level officials – the Baby P debacle cost the jobs of at least five Haringey Council Staff; and they win and lose elections for Prime Ministers – Neil Kinnock never did get a chance to turn out the lights.

The former BBC political correspondent explained that when New Labour was being formed “Blair was desperate to get Murdoch on his side… Cameron was as desperate to get Murdoch on his side as Tony Blair was many years earlier.”

It has been argued that Rupert Murdoch’s support can make or break a Prime Minister, but some believe his media organisations have simply aligned themselves with the right people at the right time to ensure his business ventures are secure. Either way Murdoch and whoever he pledged allegiance to have always been very happy people, that is, until Prince William and Prince Harry discovered their phones had been hacked.

The Guardian persisted with this story, or as some may call it – a campaign, until it was revealed that the young schoolgirl Milly Dowler had her phone hacked while she was reported missing. This information caused public outrage and Murdoch’s Empire now finds itself in the spiralling scandal his papers were once famous for unveiling.

Nicholas Jones speaks in a series discussing Phone Hacking

“The Murdoch’s are finished… if anyone can prove Cameron knew about Hackgate, it will finish him as well.”

Nicholas Jones is no lightweight, he was political correspondent for the BBC for 30 years, examining and picking apart the art of the spin-doctor. He still writes on his website and released a book last year titled Campaign 2010 – The Making of a Prime Minister. This was later followed by a publication in March this year – The Lost Tribe of Fleet Street.

When asked if he has ever used such underhand methods to exploit a story Jones was frank, “At the start of my career I used to peek through people’s back windows for a story… but phone hacking… Even if I though it was in the public interest, I hope… I hope I wouldn’t go fishing.” One thing he was certain about however “Phone hacking has changed journalism forever.”

You can view Nicholas Jones’ current work online at www.nicholasjones.org.uk and catch up on the latest and future Coventry Conversations at http://wwwm.coventry.ac.uk/cuevents/Pages/CoventryConversations.aspx

Nicholas Jones spoke to Huw Hopkins outside Coventry University

Photos by Simon – check out his blog

Image copyright and courtesy of The Sun, News Group Newspapers

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We began Friday afternoon by reviewing an event that took place earlier in the week. It was a debate linking to the launch of John Mair‘s new book Mirage in the Desert? Reporting the Arab Springto be released on 26th of October. One that we were offered to attend but unfortunately due to previous work commitments I was unable to.

By reviewing what they talked about at the book launch we were able to touch on a few key issues regarding global media and communication.

Initially we were asked what are the practicalities that journalists face when covering controversial overseas issues?

The answer to this brought up several points.

·      It is necessary to keep sending media out to war torn places when there are already so many on the ground?

·      Should the focus of the stories be on the families and the people rather than how many bombs have dropped?

·      It is imprtant to provide background information rather than opinion.

·      Safety comes at a high price when journalists are following tanks and troops.

·      Thr fiscal price to send these people away is so high when it includes camera crews, satellite mobiles.

We also looked at what theories we can apply to these points.

·      With so many different, often opposing press and broadcast teams reporting the competition may lead to a downfall in the standards of reports i.e. BBC vs Sky vs ITV (John Mair’s notes highlighted these Commercialisation aspects)

John Mair has written a collection of books inspired by Coventry Conversations

·      The idea of embedding a journalist in a troop can lead to problems because no writer will write negatively about a troop they are travelling with. This could lead to the press not being trusted and kicked off the tour.

This work led to a discussion and some in class research about how athe media can seemingly lose a war. When you look at research of the Vietnam war, one point that crops up is how the US press played such a heavy role in reporting every negative detail of what went on. Some theorists believe that despite the US winning the war, it was shown to have been lost through the eyes of the media that the US lost the war.

The second half ot eh lecture was reviewing the tasks set the week previous. I personally looked at McPhail’s Global Comunication (2005) and reviewed this to the class but this week I have elected to look at Media Concentration Options for Policy by Trapper and Meier in McQuail and Siune (1998).

In addition to this I have begun focusing on our homework assignment for this week about who owns the media in my country. A review will be posted later this week.

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