We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

All day long the sky is blue and everyone agrees with you in Shangri-La

The Catty Examiner has never been a Paper Of Record. But as local rags go, it has pootled along and so long as you knew the personal and political jealousies underpinning the editorial bias it generally got enough of the facts right for you to know what was going on.

Unfortunately, The Catty Examiner, like many other local papers, is owned by the Grauniad Media group. The Grauniad's steady decline over the past five decades from being The Manchester Guardian to becoming The Islington Boulevardier's Gazette has been a sad one but only of limited interest due to its affecting just the one newspaper. Alas, expensive experiments in Berliner format, Huge Foaming-Witterings and staff charabanc trips to exotic locations like Battersea, Borough Market and Brixton have chastened the coffers and Economies Must Be Made. Which translates into "continue to spend money like water in metropolitan pursuits and sack lots of journalists in local papers and close down offices." Something to bear in mind next time a Grauniad columnist bangs on about the importance of localism and community empowerment. What this means for us locally is that our three local papers have shut up shop and now run from a desk somewhere in a back office in Manchester (until the Evening News gets its legs cut off from under it, in which case they'll all be run from the Colonial Desk at Farringdon Lane).

We're already seeing the results, with "news stories" that even the greenest local cub reporter would pick holes in. Today we have an entirely artificial kerfuffle caused by a report that there's apparently a row about Social Services moving out of Milkbeck Library.

Social Services have never been in Milkbeck Library.

Doreen has had a pile of work on her hands caused by the Housing Advice Team moving into Milkbeck Library after a cock-up over office accommodation elsewhere in the community. This could have quite a lot of benefits to both services and to their customers, but like everything else in Helminthdale Council it's been an unplanned last-minute fiasco. Luckily, we could jiggle things round rather a lot to make enough space for a new advice desk, but not without taking the local audiovisual collection out of service in the process.

Which would have been a truer, and more interesting, story for the newspaper.


Nota Bene said...

It's happening across the country...whether the owner is the Grauniad or not....there's a blog to be written about some of the completely hopeless reporting in some of these!

--s said...

Definitely. Our local rag's been banging the drum on "support local businesses" and "shop local" for months, all the while a "For Sale" sign's been up on their offices. What makes it all the worse is that the office is on the main road into town, which is already littered with boarded-up shops and pubs, "For Sale," and "To Let" signs and a gaping hole where a fast-food shop blew up last year. A real turn-on for the shoppers!

Macy said...

Love the idea of the Grauniad's colonial desk... though it seems they've only colonised as far as Hadrian's Wall.

It's still my paper of choice though - when the only competition here is the Scotsmun ("Titanic sinks; 5 Scots feared dead")

Kevin Musgrove said...

Macy: the Grauniad's Colonial Desk only extends as far as Potter's Bar.

But you do get the Sunday Post! (titter!)