Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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Katie, Chris and the crisis of journalism

Do you remember Katie Cutler, or Katie Cutler BEM as she likes to be known now?

It now transpires that Katie, while she was busy doing her fundraising work for Alan Barnes, was being supported by a local PR agency, who now want paying for their work.

You probably don’t need me to introduce you to Chris Froome. He is the most successful British Grand Tour rider of his generation. Apparently, the fact that his WADA records have been hacked, and that he has used therapeutic use exemptions in the past, is news.

What’s the connection?

In the Katie Cutler case,the BBC undoubtedly know more about the story than their coverage reveals. They know who offered Cutler up forinterview, who arranged the photo ops and the heart rending meet and grin moments that underpinned their news reports back when the Katie Cutler brand was in the ascendant. It’snot as if the BBC team in Newcastle is so large that they don’t know what happened – the same people who are now reporting the story as if it’s all a bitofamystery are the people who took the phone calls promoting the heart warming and lovely story of people giving money to aid Alan Barnes.

The Chris Froome story is even more basic. It’s no secret Froome has used TUE’s. He’s talked about them himself. For the Telegraph to headline its story as an expose is both feeble and an admission that the Telegraph doesn’t believe its online readers ever get beyond the headlines. It’s also an admission that no-one at the Telegraph reads its own library.

Journalism is in crisis. What passes as journalism now is all too often not journalism, but news gathering, a shabby process of collecting stories from social media or PRs, and recycling them as if some effort has gone into them.

If you wonder why liars like Donald Trump can prosper consider what we learn from the storiesof Katie and Chris; research, care, conviction and ethics are abandoned in pursuit of clickbait, with stories that tug heart strings or excite anger being preferred to acccuracy.

 

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This entry was posted on September 16, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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