Just imagine the frustration Big Al Machray must feel. There he sits, seeing to it that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet; everything in the garden is rosy & don't let any of those naysayers, you know, the type who write blogs that are "nasty and vindictive" (thank-you, Mark) tell you otherwise. Life in the Oldham Hall Street bubble is a case study in Orwellian groupthink. Grosvenor-pool is recession-proof, the Oldham Echo Arena is a safe place to visit, the city's waterfront has been transformed in such a stylish & tasteful way & the readers are just dying to read more articles about the Beatles, self-congratulatory pieces about "your" Echo & small-time hoodlums elevated to the level of Al Capone.
And then..... THUD.
On to his desk falls the latest Meldrewesque missive from Rex Makin. Big Al sighs, says nothing & approves the copy, knowing that to do otherwise would upset the prominent lawyer, bon viveur &, reportedly, Trinity Mirror shareholder.
Not content with pouring cold water on the parade of cooing & simpering Shanghai Expo articles last month (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/05/home-truth-thats-little-too-close-to.html ), Rex was at it again last week with a corruscating piece about the Chinese junket (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/liverpool-columnists/rex-makin/2010/06/04/rex-makin-are-we-being-fed-chinese-whispers-about-chinese-expo-100252-26583656/ ):
"A prominent Chinese businessman from Liverpool has just returned from a trip to China (at his own expense) during which he visited Expo 2010, said to be more important for Liverpool than 2008.
"After visiting the centrepiece, the China Pavillion, he trekked across the Expo site, boarded a ship for a seven-minute journey across the river, faced another trek and eventually arrived at the pavillion containing Liverpool's offer. His verdict? Underwhelmed.
"While he was there a party of regional journos visited Expo in a visit organised by Liverpool Vision. Their collective impression of Liverpool's offer was most different than the independent businessman.
"The team of journalists were accompanied by a duo from a local spin company."
You can just hear the hiss of deflation from inside the Oldham Hall Street bubble, can't you?
As luck would have it, or maybe not, the same day's Daily Ghost carried an unsigned piece all about the dos & don'ts of PR (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/ldpbusiness/business-local/tm_headline=opinion-when-a-little-bit-of-pr-is-a-little-too-much%26method=full%26objectid=26584433%26siteid=92534-name_page.html ). *
Of course, for those who leave the employ of the Ghost & Echo's owner, Trinity Smoking Mirrors, there is an overwhelming sense of demob-happy release. Marc Reeves used to be editor of Trinity title, the Birmingham Post. He reflected earlier this week on the changes wrought on papers generally by the web. His verdict? Underwhelmed. Warming to his theme, Reeves made an observation that will have Sly Bailey reaching for her drinks cabinet (http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-redundant-regional-editor-newspapers-getting-crushed-by-their-own-weigh/ ):
"Saddled by a shareholder base that had grown used to the cash cow returns of a monopoly, the regional newspaper industry in particular was structurally incapable of adopting the entrepreneurial approach that is the only option available when almost every aspect of your business model is rendered obsolete."
Still, I'm sure "a little bit of PR" will do the trick, eh?
* Thanks to Wayne for the link.