Digging up stories


British newspapers choose 'Hillsborough' as an achievement

When you're trying to convince people to like you, it's a bad idea to remind them of your worst failures.

We all know the British journalism is under threat, from government regulation and the digital revolution. However, as is aptly demonstrated by this campaign co-signed by all of the major papers, the British press is under threat from its own hubris:

Clearly this campaign - from newsworks.org.uk, "the marketing body for national newspapers, helping agencies and advertisers get the most out of newsbrands" - is meant to show off the fact that, quite regularly, British journalists have done some great work uncovering corruption and exposing truths that needed to be known. But as far as lists go, it's not particularly well-chosen.

Firstly, it's an imbalanced list. The Mail gets Stephen Lawrence, the Telegraph gets MPs' expenses, the Sun gets Help For Heroes (which is probably cancelled out by Hillsborough, even though the Mirror probably put that in), the Times has its cycle safety program, but the Guardian gets to claim phone hacking, the NSA revelations and Wikileaks. 

Secondly - and this can't be stressed enough - the word 'Hillsborough' in this context means only one thing. There is a reason that, to this day, many newsagents in Liverpool will not stock the Sun.

It is also myopic to think that the media came out looking like the good guys in the (still ongoing) phone hacking scandal. Similarly, too, it's bizarre to see the NSA and Wikileaks stories included when so many papers have criticised the Guardian for leaking classified information.

Although, since they're having so much trouble trying to convince us that the NSA leaks are important, maybe they'll take any publicity they can get.

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