Wednesday, January 08, 2014

An Offering To Satisfy Your Appetite?

We can always rely on our friends at the Oldham Echo to highlight the issues that are most relevant to Merseyside, can't we? Yes, forget about the impact of the cuts on a region which never truly recovered from the 80s, forget about the Machiavellian machinations between the city council & Peel Holdings over Liverpool Waters, forget, too, the disfigurement of the city's waterfront. Instead, let's revel in the Scouse accent ( ).
Peter Guy's peurile apologia for journalism goes through the sort of tiresome phrases & terms which convey the impression that every person on Merseyside is a walking, talking caricature, the like of which Harry Enfield portrayed. Guy's piece lists 26 such utterances. [Funnily enough, he doesn't list the 27th, "Why is the Echo printed in Oldham?"]
The good folk from Oldham Hall Street, however, believe that what they serve up warrants a Sunday edition of the paper ( ). It breathlessly proclaims:
"In what will be seen by the industry as a bold, exciting and surprising move, the Sunday Echo will hit the streets on January 19 and signal a step change in our online offering across the weekend."
The industry may well view the move as "bold" in much the same way that a senior civil servant views a foolhardy political measure as "brave".
The Echo piece, intriguingly lacking a byline, refers to the paper's editor "Ali Machray". Ali, to go along with his cool, new moniker, says he is determined that "what we publish at weekends is as strong and as relevant as what we publish during the week."
Presumably that means more hard-hitting pieces on our wonderful Scouse accent & how blessed we are to reside on the banks of the Mersey. It goes on to declare:
"It is fully intended to capitalise on the huge and devoted support for Liverpool and Everton football clubs that is so important to the Echo both in print and online."
Such a stated intention shouldn't be confused with investigative sports journalism; as with its, ahem, business coverage, its football reporting amounts to parroting banal quotes from players & managers; it took the Echo long enough to realise that Hicks & Gillett were charmless charlatans whose antics landed Liverpool FC in near ruinous levels of debt while supporters' groups like the Spirit of Shankly had already cottoned on to developments. Nor has the paper confronted the club about the way in which it has engineered the decline of the Anfield area, a topic commendably covered by reporters from the national media, most notably the Guardian's David Conn ( ).
However, we return to the honeyed words of "Ali" Machray: "We can't wait for January 19. The fact that we can do this is testimony to to what an amazing city Liverpool is.
"Its news and sports potential are outstanding and we're determined to give its people a Sunday Echo they can savour."
It sounds so appetising, doesn't it? The perfect paper to accompany your Sunday fry-up. Drool over the tales of small-time local crooks while "Ali" & his mates exhort you to show some Merseypride. Consume heartily the article about the woman who accidentally stepped on George Harrison's foot at the Cavern in 1962.
No doubt the gang on Oldham Hall Street hope this "bold" launch does the job & arrest the further decline in the paper's sales over the last year ( ).
If, however, this boldness falls under a mandarin's definition of bravery, the Scousers' answer to The Sun ( ) might feel, to use one of our beloved Scouse sayings, like an unwanted brekkie.   

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