Friday, October 29, 2010

Desperate times don't need desperate measures

Another thing I repeat a lot to students: no personality is bigger than the brand they represent; be that a big name writer, an anchorman, presenter or editor.

There's one exception to prove the rule: The Dandy - to be congratulated on staying the course and trusting ahead with a relaunch - is shotting itself in the foot if it thinks it can afford to lose it's biggest character.

Readers are being asked to vote off their least favourite characters. And in the firing line is Desperate Dan. And they don't come bigger than that.

It's worth buying as copy to vote him in. Let's hope they're forced to east humble (make that cow) pie.
Do it, file it, move on

I must be as naive as Press gazette’s Dominic Ponsford who expressed surprise that journalists sent interview tapes to transcribers before writing them up after Guardian rock critic Alexis Petridis tweeted part of his interview with Take That.

He points to the legal risks of getting something wrong on the basis of a transcriber’s error. But I’m more bothered (as someone who spent his first 18 months in the job filing almost everything from a phone box) by what it does to the intuitive nature of reporting.

And it doesn’t help someone who regularly tells students they should not leave the hearing/scene/doorstep or comfy sofa without knowing exactly what the story is and roughly how they’re going to write it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

For crying out Aloud...just how much PR does a girl need?

Talking of Cheryl Cole (again, sorry), what is it about the girl that turns the normally straight-talking Piers Morgan into a glorified spin doctor? His long-awaited ssshh-it’s on Life Stories interview with the singer ticked a lot of boxes, reducing her to tears time and again when pressing her on her brush with death from Malaria, the hapless Gamu, and her break-up with footballer ex, Ashley.

But it took a hit with the constant cutaways (mum, manager, bandmates, best pal etc telling us how special she was) and the payoff was as embarrassing as any of the performances from wannabe singers she has to reject in the X Factor heats.

She may have had the crowd in her hand every time she dabbed her cheeks and sobbed without revealing an awful lot (a credit to whoever is schooling her in media). But to close the show in front of some eight million viewers by asking how she felt after this on-air therapy session and get the cheeky smile answer: “I'm back” (cue the applause and music) was just the worst example of editing.

Unless it was to drum up sympathy ahead of yet another anodyne X Factor performance the following day.

In that case, I retract the above. Job done.