Grey Cardigan: Back with a weekly column for the first time in four years - Press Gazette

Grey Cardigan: Back with a weekly column for the first time in four years

“WE ARE conscious that if we are to plan responsibly for the future of the business, and the readers whom we serve, we need a comprehensive strategy which involves managing expenditure and practising good housekeeping while continuing to provide the service to readers which they are entitled to expect.”

Sound familiar? It should do. It’s the sad admission of utter failure issued repeatedly by every newspaper group in the country as they slash and burn to protect shareholders’ dividends.

But wait. Change ‘readers’ to ‘members’ and it turns out to be last month’s statement by NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet admitting that the union has only enough cash in the bank to cover three weeks’ running costs and is on the verge of insolvency.

For some reason, the last sentence of George Orwell’s Animal Farm springs to mind.

I SOMETIMES find myself wondering what it must be like inside the mind of that gelatinous gobshite Piers Morgan. Beating Serena Williams at tennis one week, climbing Everest in his vest the next, and all while presiding over the biggest television show in the world, ever. Not so much self-delusion as utter fucking fantasy.

(In the interests of objectivity, I should point out that the lardy-cheeked chancer still owes me two grand.)

I imagine it, Numbskulls style, as being like an animated horror film where jelly babies fight off killer wasps with water pistols in a sea of custard while a giant glitterball slowly rotates overhead.

Now the problem with being a serial shit-peddler is that sometimes those porkies come back to bite you on the arse, as when Jeremy Paxman grassed him up to Leveson’s increasingly pointless three-ring circus over his boasting about his knowledge of phone hacking.

Piers brushed off this allegation without actually denying it, perhaps remembering that the Sven/Ulrika story ran way back in 2002.

So would any self-respecting editor have run such a tale without asking exactly where it had come from and how it was acquired? I think that even my counterpart on the Blairgowrie Bugle could answer that.

I’M NOT sure that all of our regional editors have quite mastered this Twitter thing. One takes to the keyboard in the evening to rightly condemn the intellectual paucity of a nation that votes for a performing dog to win half a million pounds; the next morning he is back, in character, asking: ‘Do you have the most talented dog in town? Contact our newsdesk…” Meanwhile another editor promises ‘a free pack of Lincolnshire sausages for readers when shopping at Lincs Co-op … and details of City’s main transfer target.”

Well it’s an interesting marketing ploy. Sidle up to your butcher, wave your free sausages in his face, and he’ll whisper in your ear the name of the wanted man, plus his wages and length of contract. Buy some black pudding and you’ll probably get a free picture of his half-naked WAG as well.

This column first appeared in the May 31 edition of Press Gazette – Journalism Weekly.

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