Thursday, 7 July 2011

Miserable Melican, miserable weather and misery caused by the media

Two days of no blogging. I am well and truly slacking this week aren’t I?

I’m afraid to say I’m also not in the best of moods today - the grey, miserable weather outside suitably fits my state of mind. Why do we keep getting teased by stunning hot temperatures and sunny days and then being brought all the way back down with days like today? I’m not sure if my brain has got confused as I’ve had two days off and now thinks it is actually Monday today, but I feel like poo.

I’ve got a nasty sore throat again, thanks to yet another music gig experience where I got drenched in the rain – this is a not a habit I am enjoying and am starting to wonder if I have a permanent rain cloud hovering around above me waiting to pour. I’m also fretting as my man has very important paramedic-related exams today and is a nervous wreck; I was doing fine until my recent employment problems seemed to be solved and so now my full concentration can go back on to worrying about him and his job. Ah the joys of life!

Also realised my memo on manners (see recent blog post) clearly didn’t make it through to the lovely people on the District Line. Last week I got threatened by some half asleep druggie on the way to work at around 730am (how can people be so violent and angry at that time?) and then this morning my arm nearly got knocked out of its socket by some wonderful gentleman at West Ham station, who clearly couldn’t run round me to jump on the train and had to in fact attempt to sprint through me. Nice.

My faith in society has also been severely smashed by the recent allegations against the News of The World. I first read news of this and the initial report on Milly Dowler’s mobile on a colleague’s Facebook post and actually had to question was it real or not. I find their alleged behaviour absolutely disgusting. Obviously everyone always wants to get the best scoop, the inside story nobody else found and hold exclusives, but why on earth anybody would feel this is acceptable behaviour is totally beyond me.

To make matters worse, if that was even possible, on the day when devastated friends and family mark six years since the atrocities of 7/7, they are also having to face the idea that potentially phones belonging to them were also hacked, just to get a good story!

All this seriously makes a mockery of the current investigations ongoing into the issue of celebrity mobile phones being hacked. Although let us not forget that this is still breaching people’s rights and privacy and is totally unnecessary.

The way this newspaper has supposedly carried out their reporting completely goes against the whole idea of good journalism and adds to an already pretty negative reputation for the industry. I feel for all those professional and quality journalists out there who will inevitably start to be questioned/tarred with the same brush as a result. Apparently, already there have been reports that the media in the US are pretty pleased with themselves and their media setup compared to the UK.

This also reminded of when I first came to interview for my job, I was fresh out of Uni and a budding journalist with lots of relevant, but unpaid work experience behind me – some of which interestingly was at News International. At the time there’d been a case in the news where a journalist had sneaked onto an aircraft with ‘fake’ weapons to prove a point about the low levels of security.  Ha! Interestingly as I’ve just gone back to look this up, it turns out this was a News of the World reporter.

Anyway my interviewees questioned me on my views on this type of reporting and what I thought. I remember providing a very balanced answer with my views for and against. Now, trying to prove a point and doing undercover or more investigative journalism is one thing, but it appears the newspaper seems to have lost its way on the journey of right and wrong and has clearly taken the ‘wrong’ path if these allegations are to believed/are proven true.

What I find really hard is not only did they allegedly hack the phone of Miss Dowler, which is horrendous, but then they felt it acceptable to go in and delete messages to ‘free up’ the voicemail for anything more helpful to their report. This in turn we are led to believe clearly suggested to the poor girl’s parents she may still have access to her phone as she was able to ‘listen to’ and ‘delete’ messages. This is morally so completely and utterly wrong and I can’t imagine how the Dowlers are feeling at this time as a result. However, surely this is a criminal act and is tampering with evidence and it makes me – and I know many others – question why they aren’t being treated as criminals as a result. If this had been carried out by a member of the public, there wouldn’t be any hesitation.

And why do they feel it acceptable that the woman who was editor at the time remains in a high up position for the brand? What will it take for something to be done about this?

I’m pleased to see now an increasing amount of advertisers and organisations are taking a stand and dropping campaigns with them at least in response. However, with allegations now spreading to those bereaved families of those killed in the war and their phones, where will it stop? What nasty poisonous behaviour will be revealed next and what will this mean for the future of the News of the World and more importantly the UK media as a whole?

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