Category Archives: journalists. Blagging

No Panic, Daily Mail.

Since last Friday, 11th March 2011, the majority of the world ‘s media have rightly focused their attention on the terrible plight of hundreds of thousands of Japanese people. 

Visited at 2.46 p.m. by a very powerful earthquake, magnitude 9.0, the Eastern seaboard of Japan was then almost obliterated by a tsunami which destroyed many towns and villages along the coast, killing an, as yet, indeterminate number of people. 


Representatives of the media descended on the areas affected. From the UK, most of the well-known 24 hour news stations’ anchor men and women as well as countless journalists from the press are there, relaying moving stories , painting vivid pictures of the scenes they are witnessing and enabling readers, listeners and viewers alike to see for themselves the extent of this disaster.

Most of the reporters, thankfully, are producing high-quality, truthful and effective columns and pieces to camera . We are able, through the thoughtful, intelligent and honest accounts from journalists like Channel 4’s Jon Snow and Alex Thompson, to see and hear for ourselves the dignity and sheer tenacity of fellow human beings trying to cope with extreme danger and its aftermath. These journalists are often in dangerous situations themselves.


Now added to earthquake and tsunami, we are watching a nuclear power plant seemingly rapidly running out of control and which may affect the health of many of those lucky enough to survive the earlier events.


Most News outlets have been reporting, and we have been able to see for ourselves, how marvellously stoic and forbearing the Japanese people have been and continue to be. Reporters constantly refer in admiration to the way these people are kind to those in need, thoughtful to strangers and work together to make the best of what most of us would find only in our worst nightmares.

As Channel 4 News’ Alex Thomson says in his blog:

 Over here there is no chaos. No mayhem. There is a nuclear power station with some heating issues. There is a forest fire, a blizzard tonight and coastal obliteration on an unimaginable scale.

But this is Japan. They do not panic. They do not do mayhem. They don’t litter and they don’t loot.

Further examples of the sheer forbearance of the Japanese people can be found here in this video sent by George Alagiah from BBC News: here


Most of the media have been restrained and accurate in their reporting of events in Japan. Some have not. The Daily Mail today, tells us in banner headline on the front page that Japan’s people are ‘in the grip of nuclear panic‘ and includes the word ‘apocalypse‘ in the same headline. 

The purpose of this hyperbole is no doubt to ratchet up the drama of the piece and sell more copies, but what it does do, in actual fact, is a disservice to many thousands of human beings behaving in a way many of the rest of us doubt we would be able to emulate.

How much more effective and honest, then, is this style of front page and headline –



No unwarranted exaggeration, no hype and more importantly, no lack of respect for the victims of this tragedy.

Rosie Robertson


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News From Nowhere – How the Papers got Their Stories – BBC Radio 4, Thurs. 24th Feb

This saga, long running, some believe, because of poor investigative rigour and lack of will, for whatever reason, on the part of the Met. police force to pursue many strong leads and a welter of evidence, rumbles on.

Recently, thanks to dogged work to keep the story alive by the Guardian, Independent, Channel 4 Dispatches, concerned Bloggers and ‘victims’ from all walks of life, it appears that the feeble flame is at last showing signs of bursting into the roaring fire it should have been at least six years ago.

On our Blog, #PRESSREFORM, here, are links to many articles and comments made about the whole affair over the past years. An example of these would be this :

Secret Phone-hacking Documents – Guardian

We seem now to be moving ever deeper into the murky world of (questionable at best and corrupt at the very worst) news story information gathering.

Today’s Radio 4 programme, News from Nowhere – How the Papers got Their Stories, with presenter Jon Manel, sought to show that the methods of collecting details and information on personalities in the public eye were not merely confined to phone-hacking. Listen here.

It illuminated the way newspaper journalists used private detectives to gain access to medical records, addresses from phone numbers, details about and information from friends and relatives of targets, vehicle registration numbers, ex-directory numbers and so on. The PIs were skilled in the art of ‘Blagging’ and could elicit very personal details of a target’s life from receptionists, office clerks etc. 



The programme suggested that the illegal practices employed by journalists and sanctioned by their editors were not confined to the News of the World, nor did they cease when the Private Investigator Glen Mulcaire was sentenced to prison. There is evidence that the practices still go on today….which goes some way to explain why most of the media have failed to publicise this whole affair properly.

Have editors, journalists and newspaper proprietors bitten their tongues, squeezed their eyes tight shut and held their breath in the hope that they could delay the inevitable, put off the reckoning which edges ever closer? 

Rosie Robertson