Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pretty Abominable

Okay, so it's a five year old story recently given new legs. But I couldn't let the week pass without commenting in some way on the fresh attempts by Her Majesty's Press Association to put regional lobby journalists out of work by offering to take over their jobs.

This story has been extensively covered by the UK Press Gazette, and also, in one of his less distinguished moments, by Guido Fawkes, who appears to take the side of PA by suggesting that its service can be provided for "a fraction of the cost of having your own lobby correspondent drinking in the bar all day."

I won't dignify that with a response, but the fact is PA has been trying to do this for five years. One of my former editors received a letter from PA encouraging him to sack me as long ago as 2001, but thankfully, it went straight in the bin as, like most editors, he realised that good regional political coverage depends on being able to work a single patch well and not try to juggle four in the air at once as PA's "Lobby Extra" service attempts to do.

As the Express and Star's John Hipwood said: "Times are hard and all regional newspapers need to look closely at their costs. But you do not improve the situation by removing your own Lobby correspondent, making do with an inferior alternative and thereby reducing the quality of your product." All power to your elbow, John.

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9 comments:

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

"I won't dignify that with a response"

Err, you just have.

james higham said...

Paul, far be it for me to support Guido, but: "who appears to take the side of PA by suggesting that its service can be provided for "a fraction of the cost of having your own lobby correspondent drinking in the bar all day."" does not appear, to me, to be supporting the other side. It was simply the view of the PA.

kate said...

PA really are vile as an employer, and that's speaking as someone who's worked there.

Ellee said...

The time may come when those letters don't end up in the bin due to financial constraints, but I hope it is a looooooooooooooong way off.

g eagle esq said...

'
Dear Paul

"Economics" seems increasingly triumphant, even in the Church of England

To understand the price of everything but the value of nothing

I remain your obedient servant etc

G E

james higham said...

It appears I got it the wrong way round - sorry.

Paul Linford said...

No problem James, but the words "having your own lobby correspondent drinking in the bar all day" were indeed Guido's. I don't think even PA would perpetrate such a nasty, ill-informed slur on what is, by and large, a very hard-working group of people.

MorrisOx said...

My dear Linford, don't you think you're taking Fawquez's barbs just a wee bit too seriously?

The regional boys probably lend a welcome air of basic professionalism to an atmosphere that is regularly polluted by preening prima donnas who've been spanking the pop too early and relying on the subs to turn their stale tosh into something faintly readable.

In any case, sobriety is a considerable achievement in a place full of sad cases on the benches whose only escape from utter pointlessness is the bottle.

Paul Linford said...

Yes, I'm probably taking it too seriously, but Fawkes thinks he fling accusations around about regional lobby hacks being pissed all the time and everyone will just treat it as a joke. Well it's not. We're talking about people potentially losing their jobs here.