The Sun

The Hillsborough Disaster and the Fresh Dangers of Media Manipulation

The long-overdue answers about police conduct during the appalling Hillsborough disaster have captured the media, and particularly the red-top, imagination. It’s small wonder- the tragedy is ingrained into our national psyche to a degree unmatched by any comparable event. Understandably, the families of the 96 have campaigned unrelentingly for justice, but the fascination extends beyond […]

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Red or Black: a [Bad] Publicity Factory Closed Down Too Soon?

As Simon Cowell’s ‘Red or Black?’ approaches its end, the viewing figures tell an interesting story. The nosedive from its inaugural 6.4m audience to 4.47m on Sunday was splashed gleefully all over the press and the show was proclaimed to be Cowell’s first failure (certainly not true: remember Rock Rivals? Battle of The Stars? Of […]

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Hapless Jacqui Smith, PR Maniac and foot shooting expert

You almost feel like applauding; Jacqui Smith has done it again. Obviously deciding that, since she isn’t quite so busy with politics anymore, she may as well give The Sun something to do. It emerged yesterday that Smith recently borrowed two day-release lags from a charity run by Maureen Smith- a former political ally- to […]

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After the Phone Hacking: Networking Sociably on the Social Networks

Back in February, I wrote an entry about the ‘lost art of the long lunch’, which lamented an unfortunate consequence of the modern, social media-dominated environment and its ten minute news cycle. With most conversations now conducted via mouthpiece or screen, and quickly at that, it strikes me that the generations of hacks cutting their […]

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Power PR: Matthew Freud and the Murdoch Empire

Many media commentators are speculating on who exactly has the most to lose from the precipitous events caused by the News of the World hacking scandal. The obvious casualties are the hundred journalists who have been pushed out into the cold. Murdoch has withdrawn from BSkyB bid. Other titles are in a definitive tailspin. Andy […]

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Anarcho-Royalism in the UK

In 1981 serious riots swept the country, but the Royal Wedding still comforted and distracted the great unwashed with sumptuous street parties and lit beacons of hope. 30 years later, thanks to the digital enlightenment and the forces of social media, we might well find ourselves experiencing significant social unrest at the wedding of Prince […]

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Katie Price, Vengeful Goddess of the Tabloids

Ever since Tom Paine’s book Fame: From the Bronze Age to Britney came out, I have been looking more and more at the way celebrity and myth intersect – and now the news, and Katie Price specifically, has presented another killer analogy. In Celtic mythology, the Year King would be feted and loved and cherished […]

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Leaders, Prime Ministers and the Next Generation

A couple of first nights have grabbed my attention in the last few days, and both of them have presented interesting conundrums to consider. The first is the production of Yes, Prime Minister that has just transferred to the West End. It’s a great show; very funny, very well acted and rather more radical than […]

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No More Heroes: The media, football and built in obsolescence

Today’s edition of the Sun features an exposé of Wayne Rooney’s recent night on the tiles as his team-mates “completed rigorous pre-season fitness tours”. It is a typically irked and excitable article, chipping away at the veneer of sporting heroism that has been liberally applied to Rooney and his sporting colleagues in the past. The […]

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Hauling England Over the Coles

There is no hope for the England team – every time one of them opens their mouth they put their foot in it and someone (usually the press) helpfully shoves the boot in too. What do we really expect, though, when the players have too much time, money and self-regard on their hands? Take Ashley […]

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Election Stuntwatch: Gordon’s Gaffe on Tape

Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives states that ‘anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment!’. From now on, I suspect, any political instance of this law in action will be known as the ‘Brown Variant’, after unguarded remarks about a woman he had just spoken to on a walkabout were broadcast to the […]

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Who is Pulling Nick Griffin’s PR Strings?

The BBC have, without doubt, handed Nick Griffin and the BNP a potential PR coup by allowing him to appear on Question Time. It is very likely that Griffin will be working desperately hard to avoid belching racist bile, especially as the programme surrounds him – in the interests of the BBC’s “central principle of […]

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The Ghost Twitterer

Twitter is the place on the net to have fun with publicity, as a brilliant new Halloween stunt, featured in The Sun, proves beyond doubt. “Twitter users will get the chance to communicate with departed showbiz stars this Halloween — in the world’s first online séance,” proclaims the paper. “Tweeters can choose which of their […]

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Popularity Politics

Accused of not letting slip any details of policies that would be employed should they form the next Government, the Tories came out in surprisingly brave style yesterday, thanks to George Osborne. He may have the charisma of a financial director of a small engineering firm in Colchester, but Osborne has been the boldest politician […]

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Gordon Brown and the Jinxed Career

Gordon Brown is jinxed. At the Number 10 reception to mark the second anniversary of the Prime Minister’s Talent and Enterprise Taskforce, Perri Luc Kiely, the frizzy haired 13 year old dancer with Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity, took a tumble, hurt himself, burst into tears and is now taking top billing in the press […]

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Taking the Flack: Prince Harry and the Royal Press Machine

The papers have been full of Prince Harry’s new girlfriend Caroline Flack, the presenter of Gladiators and, it has become clear, a full throttle Alpha Female and a hedonist of the first order. But now The Sun has announced that Harry’s dumped Flack because he misses Chelsy Davy, quoting him – through a friend – […]

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Stuntwatch for the Social Network generation

The 21st Century is a noisy old place to live, with millions of people going about their daily lives and thousands upon thousands of brands, celebrities, politicians, chancers and scoundrels trying to get some attention for whatever they are selling. And with the recession looming ever larger on the financial horizon, taking down long-standing brands […]

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The re-branding of Prince Charles

What is the best present could Prince Charles hope to be unwrapping on his 60th birthday, today? He will get many, but I suspect that the period of calm that has prevailed at Clarence House over the last five years, interrupted occasionally by the binge drinking bouts and going-to-parties-dressed-in-Nazi-regalia adolescent antics of his 20-something sons, […]

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Editorial Intelligence

I received my old friend Julia Hobsbawn’s Editorial Intelligence report called The Power of The Commentariat.  It features research which involved a self selecting small group of individuals from business, media, politics, public life, academia and a group set up by Editorial Intelligence on Facebook called Keep Up With The Commentariat to say who they […]

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PR Gaff

The creeping erosion of PR standards is highlighted again by some poor practice in a resultant picture caption in this morning’s Sun newspaper. Emblazeoned across the lovely Vicky Newton “bizarre” column is a promo snap of Girls Aloud all brandishing mobile phones. Clearly it was staged to promote the handset. The problem is the story […]

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