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October 8, 2009

Roger Alton: News International and Cameron’s inner circle too close for comfort

By Gary Neale

Independent editor, Roger Alton, has questioned the relationship between leading figures in the Conservative Party and the newspapers run by Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

Alton said connections between the two groups were ‘too close for comfort’.

The alliance between the conservatives and News International’s Sun newspaper was cemented last week as the daily redtop used Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party Conference to inflict a strategic strike against the government by throwing its support behind the Conservative leader, David Cameron.

Cameron also employs former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, as his director of communications, while his party has suggested changes to the media landscape that could be beneficial to Murdoch’s wider business interests.

Writing in the latest edition of Word magazine, Alton detailed his Five Hard Lessons I’ve Learnt About Newspapers, in which he warned that journalists needed to be ‘involved with everything and everyone around them’ but also needed to maintain their distance.

He wrote: “Right now some of the connections between the News International papers and Cameron’s inner circle are too close for comfort…Journalists like to think we’re on the main stage: but we’re not. we’re in the audience.”

Word magazine hasn’t put the article online. However, edited highlights of Alton’s thoughts on the industry can be found on Jon Slattery’s blog.

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