A new day and another new scandal involving the news (sic) gathering tactics employed by one of the UK’s biggest selling newspapers.

I’m no longer surprised at each new revelation, in fact I’m probably more shocked that it has taken so long for the full extent of the phone hacking and whatever other shady scheming certain titles and journalists have used to become public knowledge.

We have some diligent and committed campaigning from the likes of Tom Watson MP, some proper investigative journalism from those at publications like The Guardian and above all the supreme arrogance of those responsible for the scandal for the fact that the truth is now coming out in more of a torrent than the drip, drip, drip of recent years.

It is shameful. It requires decisive action. It demands a massive culture change, both within the industry and from those who support it by placing adverts or simply buying copies of such newspapers.

The News of the World and the News International group are not alone in such practices. They’ve just been the most arrogant and sloppy to have got caught so far.

But I’m still proud to call myself a journalist and so are thousands of other hacks around the country.

And I can’t help thinking that good journalism will ultimately save the profession from itself.

It is rare for me to applaud opinion pieces that appear in the likes of the Daily Telegraph, or from particular writers. But Peter Oborne has arguably written two of the best articles to date on the whole scandal.

They are well-reasoned, well researched, well presented and brilliantly written pieces of journalism in the Telegraph and the Spectator which deserve a wide readership.

It is also worth reading the Daily Mash’s take on the scandal. A very different style of writing and journalism, perhaps, but one that still strikes the right chord.

The profession I first joined more than 20 years ago has undoubtedly changed beyond recognition in that time. A lot of those changes depress me on a daily basis.

But some things don’t change – Britain still produces some of the best journalism and journalists.

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2 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    And so you should be, Paul [proud to be a journalist]. I am a journalist’s daughter (of those days when you stumbled into the profession, not so much by design as by fortune). Forty years ago, working for one of the biggest titles, his assigments so explosive, “investigative”, they often didn’t even put his name to the story in order to protect him. What a world that was. Had me in thrall – as young as I was then.

    I admire people who put themselves on the line. Trouble is that corruption is rife in any profession. No more facilitated than in the age of globalization and the internet. It appears that anything goes. And in the end it’s between you and your conscience. i’d be useless. I don’t even read other people’s diaries – even if they leave them open on the page. Yes. Saint Ursula. Or just an immutable principle. Which might be the reason that not only my father but a couple of other people in the trade, when in my twenties, told me that I wouldn’t last five minutes in journalism. That I was not cut out for the thrust. I don’t know. Will never know. Possibly for the best. In the meantime I do take off my hat to anyone (like you) you has the will, the stamina, to employ their wordpower to make a difference.

    U

    PS So happy to live in the country of Fleet Street, sporting many a print ink stained finger at the end of a typical Sunday afternoon

    • Paul Groves says:

      Thanks U – I think the latest developments (closing down the News of the World to ultimately be replaced by a Sunday edition of the Sun) – shows many things. It highlights the ruthlessness of the Murdoch empire, the manipulative way it does business, the fact it is more interested in its TV interests than the printed word and mainly how far removed from journalism this has all become.

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