Julian Bray casts an expert if somewhat critical eye....
|" Don't look Fred, they shredded container loads of News of the World e-mails |
for animal bedding!" [Picture Montage by SPIZ]
Donning his battered crisis management hat, Julian Bray Media Commentator writes: So I hear that when it comes to blagging (no, not blogging) the Mirror is at the top of the list, then Associated Newspapers and News International way down the pile of shame... Says who? Political Blogger 'Guido Fawkes' and he has some very impressive authorities to back it up. But then where does this many headed hydra next go?
The PR/ crisis management strategy so far has been botched (yes, that is with the benefit of hindsight) on a scale not seen on these shores since the banks took all our money, went belly up then came back to the taxpayer to bail them out so they could carry on as usual....Not so long ago you say? True but isn't that just very British? We are never quite good enough in whatever we do.
We can't even schedule in a viable new aircraft carrier without a fifteen year interval, but still we take on a couple of wars, one totally dependent on air supremacy. The next major disaster will be the Olympics, it has all the makings.... trust me on this. We should also wave a battered flag for the failed World Cup bid (bungs all round).
But back to all things Wapping, fortress Wapping I seem to remember, with the staff being bussed in through picket lines in riot protected coaches. Boy, I bet Rupert wishes he still had those coaches for the current goings on! I say the PR strategy is flawed. The worlds TV cameras are parked day and night outside Wapping, but no one has bothered to clear the pile of rotting old pallets from the roof of the security entry check point ( Checkpoint Right Charlie!). "Hey Alf, the supervisor is on an inspection, what do I do with these old pallets? Stick 'em on the roof no one will ever know!"
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When an aircraft crashes, the first thing airline head office would do is see that the tailfin company logo is painted out or a tarpaulin draped over it, then you worry about the rescue.... But what do the TV news bulletins pick out? The News of the World fascia plate in bold red and white alongside the other mastheads, (it's the one bottom right, if anyone with the paint and brush at Wapping is listening).
STOP PRESS: My God this blog is effective! No sooner had I published, the man with the screwdriver removed the News of the World masthead panel!
But the US news networks are not covering themselves with glory either, the raw fear of contagion is so very obvious. With US domestic politics on its own self destructive financial and senate voting rollercoaster, there is talk of the 'feds getting involved turning over a few more stones and seeing what crawls out underneath. It will only probably turn up Piers Morgan, but that's enough to be going on with. Politicians and policemen caught up in the net, social diaries and clandestine meetings and sleepovers laid bare. The mind boggles.
Dumped Prime Ministers making rare appearances in the House of Commons, Gordon Brown mustering all the venom he could, shamlessly playing to the gallery, as was the Speaker gushing hell, fire and a short measure of brimstone. I've not heard a sermon like it, well since the padre to the SAS, the Right Reverend Fraser McClusky, Former Moderator to the Church of Scotland gave an Easter address. He passed on a few years ago and is no doubt giving St Peter, both barrels on a daily basis.
But I digress, who on earth ordered the page ads. in rival newspapers enabling those newspapers to claim a free ride to the high moral ground (in the process donating the Murdoch revenue to worthy causes)? I'd be more impressed if they had refused to run such sugar coated twaddle.
I'm with the Mail on Sunday thinking, double the print run and drop the cover price to just a £1! But it's too easy to be wise after the event so where do they go? Bear in mind News Corporation, only gets around 17 per cent of its revenue from the UK newspaper operation - BSKY B is another proposition entirely and the real cash cow, or prize in all of this.
Immediately I'd send the US PR firm packing, hire an expereinced London City PR shop like Anthony Cardew at Cardew Group who knows the media inside out. Draw a line under all the hand wringing, put major promotional and talent resource into the other titles and just put the Sky bid ( for the remaining shares- News Corp already holds a majority anyway and helpfully the bid although cancelled has been put on the spike for a while).
I'd also round up the key ex NotW journalists and immediately put them all on new freelance contracts, working up a new middle of the road multimedia set of titles, this would enable them to maintain dignity and harmony within their own families and continuity in employment and possibly repair misplaced loyalty but at least the anger against the founder Rupert Murdoch by the 200 innocents displaced by all this, would be contained, if not vapourised. It would enable Rupert to live out the rest of his life in some tranquility, whilst boosting the News International revenues. (I'd also change the company name, the last thing you corporately want to be, is news!)
The Jury would however still be out on the younger Murdoch generation. Those already arrested will have to let the lagal process take its course and a spell in Open Prison possibly awaits, but politicians ever quick to jump on and off bandwagons can only hope some career journalists have only kept their contemperaneous note books for the statutory six years, then ritually incinerated them, otherwise expect in 10 months time, a whole series of very detailed accounts helpfully serialised in rivals newspapers, neatly creating an early general election as the current raft of politicans find they too are the news, toxic and not wanted on this particular voyage.......
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