View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Archive content
July 31, 2008

Dept. of Kremlinology: Guardian hacks mark McCall’s score card

By Peter Kirwan MM blog

Reporting on the boss’s performance is difficult for hacks who cover the media. But today’s joint effort by Stephen Brook and Richard Wray to explain Guardian Media Group’s annual results was particularly abject.

The piece started out:

Guardian Media Group, owner of the Guardian, saw its annual profits boosted dramatically. . .

Oh err, sounds good. So how did this dramatic improvement occur? Here’s what follows:

. . . by the sale of a 49.9% stake in the owner of Auto Trader. . .

Ah, yes, now I remember. But how bad could that be? Well. . . (and we’re into the second par now):

pre-tax profits rose to £306.4m in the year to end March, compared with £97.7m the previous year.

Content from our partners
Pugpig named best media technology partner of 2024 by AOP
Cannes Lions: The world's best creativity all in one place
L'Equipe signs content syndication deal with The Content Exchange

Blimey — a 314% increase! But wait. By now we’re on to the fourth par — well out of harm’s way.

Only now do Brook and Wray remind you that the cash GMG received for its holding in Auto Trader was £334.6m.

So let’s see. Strip out the cash gain from Auto Trader and we’re left with an underlying pre-tax loss for 2007-2008 of. . . approximately £28.2m.

As against a pre-tax profit last year of £97.7m.

Brook and Wray are top-drawer hacks. This in turn makes me ask why their first par didn’t contain the words: “Guardian Media Group invests several tens of millions in the future. . . “

Perhaps there’s a good reason. If so, further examination of GMG’s annual report will yield it up.

In the meantime, here’s a suggestion for Alan Rusbridger: stop putting your best people through the ordeal of writing inevitably Kremlinesque accounts of GMG’s results.

The time-honoured moniker “Our Staff” has become unfashionable. But surely it needs to be wheeled out at mutually embarrassing moments such as these.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network