Council papers - journalism they aint
I can fully understand why journalists on the breadline find the lure of jumping ship to council papers so attractive. But I can’t understand how they can still call themselves journalists. They’re not. They’ve taken the very well-trodden path across the road to PR.
It was ever thus. More than once a town hall took one of my promising, albeit starving, young reporters and gave them a living wage to write the sort of press releases they’d have rewritten or spiked a few days earlier. But they became as much a part of the spin machine as Alistair Campbell did when he left the Mirror for Whitehall – and never made any secret of it.
The defections have grown in line with the rise of council newspapers which are, in the main, awful. OK, in house magazine terms, which is more or less the genre in which I’d place them, some are not bad. But don’t let’s persist in the notion that they any more deserve a place in the media than the corporate newsletters big companies place in dump bins in the factory canteens.