Talking of Media

Check out this interesting new site Fleet Street Blogger for the inside track and gossip on the UK media and some comment on the American press.

On the latter I think he is spot-on when he looks at the differences between the US and UK newspapers:

It’s set me thinking about why British and American newspaper cultures are so different. Both set-ups have their merits. Covering a hypothetical plane crash, I’d back the Brits – especially the tabs – to cover the story better. The copy would be more vivid, pack a bigger impact and communicate better the drama of the event. But if you actually wanted to know what made the plane crash, you might have to wait for the NYT or the WaPo to track down the facts. And wait, and wait, and wait….
(It doesn’t help that there’s no Freedom of Information Act in the UK)

But most US papers aren’t the NYT or the WaPo. In fact, most of them – I’m thinking major metro dailies – are rubbish. Turgid stories and rubbish pictures used in a rubbish way. I think lack of competition has a lot do with it. If you’re in Cleveland, St Louis or Atlanta you have no other choice – unlike here on Fleet Street where all of us face up to a dozen competing titles every day if one includes the regionals.

But in even the few two-paper towns like Seattle, it’s still all very dull. I have my own idea what causes this – the management of US papers no longer believe news sells. It’s merely the wrapper around hundreds of pages of coupons and ads.

Meanwhile US hacks have convinced themselves that they’re involved in a profession rather than a craft. They’ve been so inculcated with a public service philosophy while at journalism school that their news values reflect what academics say the people should be interested in rather than what actaully does interest readers.

Absolutely. I’d like to see what an American newspaper produced entirely by people who haven’t been to journalism school would look like.

On my travels I quite often read the International Herald Tribune and it does feel like reading a British broadsheet from about half a century ago: the lay-out declares ‘we are not changing our appearance for you lot’ and the headlines seem to say – “we are not really bothered if you read this or not”.

And all those long introspective articles about the media…….