Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spin & Superfluity

When not indulging in the sort of sewer-based tactics which would have made the tabloid redtops blanche (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2009/apr/14/gordon-brown-damian-mcbride ), & how satisfying to see the scales drop from so many eyes about the character of Derek Draper, Downing Street must dread the day when papers like the Oldham Echo finally go under: no more press releases faithfully reproduced with a complete absence of journalistic scrutiny or inspection to get in the way of another "spin" story.
Today's Echo dutifully carries one such piece masquerading as news:
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/04/14/government-promises-measures-to-stop-recession-hit-merseyside-high-streets-turning-into-ghost-towns-100252-23380669/ .
It intones:
"Communities Secretary Hazel Blears will will ease local regulations to allow empty shops to be converted into temporary art galleries, learning centres, charity shops and social enterprises."
It is true that such measures have been taken in the south west of England, particularly with regard to temporary art galleries. However, the key word here is "temporary"; after a certain period of time, the empty spaces will return, as the south west is discovering:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7993698.stm .
The Echo insert (for that is basically what it is) continues with a string of vague, non-committal terms & phrases ("The aim is to stop the rot"; "Officials [always unnamed, note] said that the benefit should be seen quickly"; "Other councils will be urged", etc.).
Get the picture?
If this is an example of the "local journalism" that media commentators are anxiously fretting about (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/apr/08/media-events-conferences-local-newspapers ), they should give up the ghost here & now. It ain't worth saving, let it sink, guys.

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