Just a quick one: while everyone is shocked and scandalised about the techniques of the national papers, there hasn’t been any mention of the regionals other than to lump us all in as one giant scummy mass.
The regional press used to be where the nationals got all their story leads. The very low-paid provincial cannon-fodder reporter, who had to use a contact book rather than a cheque book, did the ground work, did the interviews, got the pictures, played by the rules.
And then the nationals would send in their troops to piss everyone off and bugger off back to London to twist and spin the original tale. The broadcast media also get the bulk of their stories from papers, local and national.
The idea of local papers hacking anyone is pretty laughable. Most offices don’t even have a landline on every desk, let alone the cash for a PI or bung for a bent copper.
Since the switch to celebrity over story about 10 years ago, the regionals have seen less of their stories stolen. Now the owners of the regionals give them away for free.
But the local papers, mostly owned by corporations in some distant land, have been left to decay. They still have great trained staff, they abide by the law, they know their patch and their readers. They will usually have the same breaking national news as well as news that is actually of value to the locality for less than 50p a paper. Yet they are suffering from falling readership and chronic lack of investment. The single quoted annual salary of a Times columnist would pay for at least a dozen regional reporters.
So, as more and ‘exposures’ come to light, don’t lump your local in with all this distaste for the alleged reporting methods of a handful of national hacks, execs and private investigators.
Want news? Buy local. Buy your local paper.