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Current Edition

Volume 25, Number 2, 2014


Editorial - Give it a chance 3

Not finally... Subjective views on matters journalistic 5
Duncan Campbell defends the doorstep
Kim Fletcher finds beauty in tablet editions
Paul Donovan says lay off council papers
Jack Flanagan asks if we need the news explained

Tim Luckhurst - TV news after Paxman 13

Clive Irving - Paying for proper journalism 20

Magnus Linklater - Scottish politics poorly served 26

Simon Rogers - Data journalism for all 31

Dan Wilkinson - Read me or I don’t eat 35

Syed Irfan Ashraf - Pakistan: media death toll rises 39

Stewart Purvis - Why is the UK so secretive? 46

Roy Greenslade - WW1: how war reporting changed 52

Mark Bryant - WW1: the great cartoons 58

Brian Winston researches news 67
Maggie Brown investigates the BBC 69
Jane Reed learns about magazines 71
Ruth Dudley Edwards praises gentlemen editors 74
Jon Swain admires a foreign correspondent 76
Bill Hagerty enjoys Gerald Kaufman on film 78

Twitter Watch - 19
Ten years ago - The way we were - 30
Quotes of the Quarter - 65
News - The Cudlipp Award 66

Cover illustration: Martin Rowson


Blog: Give Ipso a chance
The new culture secretary, Sajid Javid, has endorsed the industry’s moves to set up a new regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). Its chairman, Sir Alan Moses, has been hailed as a clever choice. Although some national titles have refused to sign up, it is surely reasonable to give Ipso a chance to show what it can do.

Knock, knock
Duncan Campbell, a veteran crime reporter who has knocked on many a door, discusses the ethics of doorstepping. When should reporters do it and when should they not? But he concedes that Twitter now gives people a chance to open their own doors.

Television news with brains
Media academic Tim Luckhurst praises Channel 4 News and BBC2’s Newsnight for producing “intelligent news and current affairs TV that informs, analyses and educates.” In a lengthy analysis he calls them “islands of quality” in reporting “issues of substance.”

Emphatically not their finest hour
With Scotland on the brink of a national referendum that will define its fate, the Scottish press appears to be dying on its feet, writes Magnus Linklater, a former editor of The Scotsman. The result, he argues, is a polarised campaign that has not been subjected to "robust and independent analysis or investigation" by a depleted Scottish media.

Read all about me
An ambitious and thoughtful young journalist, Dan Wilkinson, confronts the problems of trying to make a living in the digital age. Despite websites such as Buzzfeed, Gawker and Vice being the media industry’s curse, he believes that they are also its saviour. But what about the pay?

Take a tablet
Newspapers have found a new way to merge new digital access with old print design felicities, argues Kim Fletcher. He extols the virtues of tablet editions that can be downloaded and read at leisure wherever and whenever one chooses.

Council reporter
The government has demanded the closure of newspapers published by five London councils. But Paul Donovan, who once reported for a council-run paper, explains that these so-called “town hall Pravdas” have a reason to exist in the face of a declining independent, commercial press.

Is Vox popular?
Vox is a newly-launched digital magazine that claims to provide "explanatory journalism". What this means in practice is the inclusion in articles of hyperlinks to “card stacks”. So is it a great leap forward from Wikipedia? Jack Flanagan isn't sure.

Have faith in proper stories
One of the founders of the Sunday Times’s Insight team, Clive Irving, recalls the time when its owner, Roy Thomson, “left journalism to the journalists.” It meant resources were devoted to investigative reporting. The key was not lavish funding, he contends, but giving the team time to work at their task, “free of the tyranny of the news cycle.”

Data journalism – the new punk
Data journalism is now an essential component of online reporting, courtesy of the digital revolution. One of its exponents, Simon Rogers, likens it to the 1970s punk rock era when young people were encouraged to believe they could, in Joe Strummer’s words, “do anything.”

The Taliban are coming to town
Television broadcasters in Pakistan have become Taliban targets. After the murder of three Express TV journalists, a spokesman for the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban was invited to appear on screen during which he admitted his organisation was responsible for the crime. Syed Irfan Ashraf registers his alarm.

What are they hiding?
After 45 years in journalism, Stewart Purvis concludes that the British state "cannot be trusted to tell the truth." His evidence includes the existence of a secret archive of Foreign Office files and the continuing controversy over the DA-Notice system.

All the news they saw fit to print
The First World War was poorly reported but Roy Greenslade argues that we should not blame the journalists. They were constrained by three powerful forces – the government, the military and, most significantly of all, their own proprietors.

“Arf a Mo’, Kaiser!”
Many of the political, royal and military figures involved in the First World War were a gift to cartoonists, writes Mark Bryant. He presents several examples and explains the reasoning behind them.