Sunday, 10 July 2011

I am not the story

The tabloid press are (were?) a well read and loved aspect of British life. They are the oxygen for celebrities who need publicity to fuel their careers. Their readership numbers make them a great place for charities to place adverts to generate stacks of cash as we've seen this week as the DEC launched its latest appeal.

Sure, I've never been the biggest fan of the Murdoch empire, (far from it!), never ever bought the Daily Mail and would quite happily see both media groups and their views disappear. But my opinions are driven by my political beliefs and an acknowledgement of how powerful they both were while Labour were in opposition before 1997. And, to be honest, I used to be in the 'if you don't like it, you it don't have to buy it' camp. That all changed last February.

I naively didn't realise quite how low the tabloid press could go until the News of the World put an undercover journalist into a training session at the telephone fundraising agency I used to work for. I'm not going to link to the story and I hope in days it's removed from the internet.  But just so you can gauge the tone of the piece, here's the opening sentence, 'THEY are the coldest of callers who prey on the financially vulnerable for cash.' The article then went on to trash an individual.

Forget the agency but think of the individual employee that they vilified in that story. He was a fundraiser. He loved being a fundraiser. He was doing his job, he was very very good at his job. He did nothing wrong. He went to work one day, was recorded doing his job and had his words twisted to create a sensationalist and negative view of the work he was doing.  Nobody came forward to defend him and he was soon forgotten.  I wonder if he has forgotten the experience, somehow I doubt it.

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