Saturday, 13 November 2010

Fulham Chronicle: how the media works

If you were in any doubt about where the local press get a lot of their material from, compare this story I wrote about the Cabinet meeting relating to Shepherd's Bush Market earlier this week - which the Chronicle didn't attend - and this little article here in the Chronicle itself.

Just to make it easier I've reproduced the two sets of relevant text below, highlighting the bits they lifted. And did this blog get a mention for being their source? Guess.

Fulham Chronicle:

Meanwhile, under-fire council leader Stephen Greenhalgh says the new theatre will form the centrepiece of his vision for the new Shepherd's Bush Market – but threatened traders confronted him over his controversial plans for the area at a stormy meeting last week.
About thirty voiced their opposition over the plans, which involve demolishing the Victorian line of shops to create a new 'cultural quarter' encompassing a plaza, new shops and cafes and the new theatre.
The petitioners, many of whom have traded at the market for years, slammed Mr Greenhalgh for labelling their shops 'shabby' and mocked him for his insistence the council is consulting with them over its ambitions.
And they cried 'shame' and 'disgraceful' when the meeting was called to a halt.
Earlier they found support from opposition Labour leader Stephen Cowan, who lambasted Mr Greenhalgh and his cabinet for not posing any questions to the petitioners.

The day before you could have read on this blog, the following text:

Shut up" "Pin your ears back and listen" retorted Cllr Greenhalgh, Council Leader and in this setting formal receiver of the two petitions presented to the Cabinet this evening from residents concerned with theproposed redevelopment of Shepherd's Bush Market.

He was talking to Cllr Stephen Cowan, the Leader of the Labour Opposition, who had also turned up for this public meeting, at which there were also roughly 30 people from the Bush, supporting the two speakers.

One of whom, Aniza Meghani, outlined the fears and anger felt by those traders who occupy the Victorian line of shops which are slated to be demolished by the Council in its' "overarching vision" for the Market. She rebuked Cllr Greenhalgh in a passionate defence of the existing Market for having described their appearance as being "
poor" and "shabby". No customer in decades had ever made such a remark which had been taken as an insult, she added, before going on to outline the multicultural and niche nature of the current Market. She mocked the Council for saying that officially they had "no plans" but were "consulting" by asking with mock innocence why they had in the same breath already been talking about compulsory purchase orders in order for Orion the developers to move in.

Following this presentation Andrew Frederick gave an impassioned plea for the Council to think again over its plans, as part of the redevelopment, to close a functioning hostel for homeless people with drug and alcohol problems and move them into an old hostel which had been closed in May. The old hostel, Lime Grove, had failed and resulted in numerous run ins between residents and service users - with predictable consequences involving the police on many occasions. He said that to re-open Lime Grove would be to fail both the vulnerable people who need the service but also the residents. All, he said, "
so you can build flats all over the Market." He pledged that the residents would "fight the plans with every means at our disposal" but urged the Council to back away and think again. They did not want confrontation, he said.

They were heard in stony silence. Cllr Greenhalgh summarised the presentations briefly and asked his colleagues if they had any questions. His Cabinet colleagues at this point all seemed to develop an intense interest in the desks in front of them and studied them closely, eyes down. None had any questions.

Cllr Greenhalgh then thanked the residents for coming and clearly wanted to close the public meeting. The concerns had been noted he said and would be registered both with council officials and with the developers.

At this point the people in the room, who had travelled to the meeting realised that the Leader was trying to tell them that that was that. Finitto.

This prompted cries of "
shame", "disgraceful" and other epithets while the two speakers decided to take matters into their own hands, and start to ask the Council to at least respond to their points. Cllr Greenhalgh refused and reiterated that their concerns would be "noted". Job done. His colleagues were still studying their desks, to a man. And woman.

At this point Cllr Cowan intervened and attacked the process as a sham, urging them to "
at least have some questions" for the petitioners who, he said, had travelled through the rain. This sort of treatment was the reason why people didn't believe this Council, he charged.

1735 UPDATE - two angry tweets later it would seem I've upset the relevant journo at the Chronicle by insinuating they get "a lot of material" from this blog. His comment was "purlease". He didn't deny the plagiarism though. I actually don't mind them, or the BBC or anyone else using this as a source - but call me old fashioned, I just think they should say where they got their stuff from if it wasn't from them! I don't get paid to do this stuff full time - they do, and should know better. But maybe I'm just being cranky.

15th November UPDATE: The Chronicle has repented of its sinful ways and now acknowledged this blog as being the source of its material on that article. They've asked me to point this out which of course I'm happy to do. Don't let it happen again chaps.


  1. No you are not being cranky you deserve the nod of recognition. Journalists are now far too lazy and today plagiarism is rampant. Indeed, if they put under every article that they wrote who they sourced the info from most would then be found out for what they do all day. Ctrl C followed by Ctrl V and publish. Not in my mind a very fulfilling job.

  2. Want to see how big the problem is??
    Try this...
    Find a news story any story. Copy the title into google news, and see how many copies there are. A national story tends to be replicated over 100 times. Usually the first source are reuters or other such news agancies... sometimes the content is added to but all top often the title is left unchanged.