Friday, April 17, 2009

Dizzy Explains How He Does It

Dizzy recounts a tale of when he met a newspaper Whitehall Editor...

...This reality was proved to me only recently when I met a Whitehall editor of one of the nationals who I shall not name for fear of being sued due to possibly inaccurate recall. He told me that he was a fan and started to ask me what the next big scoop was and what I had. On reflection, I think he was probably probing to see if I knew about Paul's big email smear scoop, however, it was when I told him I knew bugger all that the conversation became interesting.

He asked me how I did it. H ow I managed to get original stories that his paper and other papers and broadcasters then picked up on ran with - a mainstream media hit as it were. When I told him that I read through the information published by Parliament daily each morning; scanned the departmental websites for freedom of information request responses; sent sporadic FoI's into departments asking questions that might illicit interesting answers and wrote my own little programmes that could pattern match other available information online, he was taken aback.

Here was I, some little nobody, actually doing some real work, in my own time for gratis. I was not having cosy little lunches with politicians, I was not connected into the political world with hundreds of sources here and there. I was just using my nose to smell out the shit, and then writing about it. He gave me his card, I threw it away when I left to catch my train.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying they're all bad. There are some that are. There are some that have been tipped off by me about a post which has then turned into something big and I've got bugger all credit for. There are others though, and they know who they are, who have not done that and have been happy to help me out when I've had something where the pieces fit but standing it up won't quite work, they are the good ones and as I say, they know who they are.

The point I guess I'm driving at it, is that Guido is right. The vast majority of political correspondents and reporters are failing us because they don't really report anymore, they just repeat. Whether its a smear here or there, or just a press release that has been taken at face value without a critical eye added. Deadlines, copy, and filling column inches take precedent over seeking out the truth. It's truly a shite state of affairs to be in.

Remember that phrase: "They don't really report anymore, they just repeat".

The full post is HERE.

PS And yes, I know I haven't had an original thought in my head today. Busy on other matters I am afraid.


Andrew Efiong said...

Not all newspapers repeat, some are worse than others. The Times is probably the most predictable although the Telegraph comes a close second, look how it was co-opted by Downing Street last weekend ahead of Guido's McBride revelations.

I get my politics away from the main newspapers, they are far too close to government.

I hope this story rumbles on, as the complicit media need to be shaken up a bit.

Chalcedon said...

Are you suggesting (shock, horror) that research coupled with analysis plus a little more research from different sources enables you to put a story together? It came as a surprise to a newspaper editor? LOL. What does he think the CIA, NSA, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ do all day?

Demetrius said...

Yup, I have a comment on Dizzy re the BBC and its lack of interest in doing basic research. It is not just the lobby.

no longer anonymous said...

"Busy on other matters I am afraid."

Oh FFS, he's not still at it is he?

Anonymous said...

Surely 'elicit' ??

onlyme said...

David Icke has been talking about media 'repeaters' for some time.

Tom said...

I recall reading somewhere that something like 86% of all news articles are regurgitated press releases.

Plato said...

I really do wonder at the 4th Estate these days.

90% of what I read in the MSM is cut and paste journalism with a bit of bias thrown in.

I used to think that it was just The Express that substituted frontpage scoops with weather, conspiracy and speculation stories masquerading as news - but they are all at it.

The Daily Mail seem to have the best solid content and IMHO that is to the shame of the rest. The Mail is hardly objective comment FFS.

PS I will be posting pictures of my new dog later [seems to work for the Telegraph].

Anonymous said...

In my experience, this is spot on. I really do wonder what most mainstream media political writers do all day.

I think UK journalism has failed ethically and what used to be professionally. This isn't just caused by current media corporation cut-backs. It started decades before this.

In fact, it started when 'schools of journalism' were set up. Instead of training people professionally to report actual events, we now have too many careerists who don't care enough about the issues or the people or communities effected by political actions. For example, when do journalists report on local government by being there?

And the requirement to be 'balanced' - especially in the broadcast media - is one of the biggest obstacles to investigative journalism.

Rohan said...

No wonder the web is killing off newspapers if all the latter offer is churnalism.

martin day said...

I can believe what Dizzy says, the reason why Newspaper Journo's do not find or stumble across some of the stories is they are doing a job! By this i mean it is not their passion to look through all the information as it is with some others.

For instance I look up what Gordon Brown has said in the past pre-1997 or been involved in a certain leak of Naval Base information or even the Flat Brown claimed expenses for whilst a minister and then gave it to his wife who got a lifetime mortgage at a young age and extracted significant Capital at the top of a housing boom which the taxpayer helped to acculimate.

Maybe some of the Journo's do not have the presence of mind to approach it from a different direction or the inclination. I don't run mainstay blogs but post on others - I guess I am a "Super-user!".

Oscar Miller said...

The dirty tricks campaign against Cameron has been conducted by Brown's poisonous gang since the leadership campaign in 2005. Here is a fascinating Telegraph article from 2005 that reveals the incredible machinations against Cameron set in train then. Many of the vile smears elaborated for RedRag emanate from this period. In that sense Whelan is right to claim the stories have been washing around for awhile - because McBride's gang injected their poison about Cameron back in 2005 when they were desperately trying to stop his election.
Labour's 'dirty tricks' over secret Cameron dossier

smallbz said...

Let us not forget that once journalists have filled one quarter of the editorial areas with spin from government 'communication officers', the remaining three quarters is padded out by press releases which are written for them by PR agencies.

norman said...

The newspapers are too cosy with the govt and repeat govt releases The good blogs- Iain's, Guido's Dizzy's and the Coffeehouse have almost killed off the newspapers. When Steve Richards a Brown and Labour apologist wrote " Brown is wriggling with aplomb" even before Brown Party conference speech and Michael White was wishy washy about Damien's arrest
to give two examples, I stopped reading their newspapers seriously. As for the Times, Murdoch sets the scene. He once described Brown as having calvinistic work ethic which says it all. As for DT, I have my doubts about its survival.

The Huffington Post even an Obama and Democrat supporting blog is run well ( Arianna Stassinopolous from her time as mere Bernard Levin's girl friend has progressed well in these years) and I followed its progress on US election night. It did a superb job.

wolfie said...

For an explanation in full about the "churnalism" employed by the Dead Tree Press please read
Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. It's spot on

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

The film "All the President's Men" ruined political journalism.

Since then lazy journo's just parrot such Number 10 lines as: "Major new crack down on immigration" whilst dreaming of the day that some spad in a mack will whisper information to them in an underground car park near Hyde Park. Giving them a story that will not only bring down the government but win them an award and get them portrayed by Redgrave or Hoffman as super-stars.

Whilst waiting for this "super-story" they'll pretty much ignor the Speaker-stooge breaking 1000 years of president and allowing Police to go into the Palace of Westminster and arrest an opposition spokesmen at the request of the Executive.

Carl said...

You and Dizzy need to go and read Flat Earth News by Nick Davies...

He's said all this before, and long before Staines said it. And to be honest, the NUJ have been claiming this for a while too.

Fewer reporters, more press officers... end result - a spin doctors wet dream.

Stranger in the night said...

Come off it Carl @ 11.48, Guido did the biz.

Nick Davies and the NUJ obviously need to get a voice.

Carl said...


put the pom poms down and step away from the light.

I can't imagine anyone else on this blogsite would bother to read Nick Davies, let alone even know what the NUJ are. I don't see Iain's fans as the union-loving type.

Iain Dale said...

Carl, shows how much you know. I have indeed read Nick Davies's book, and I am also a member of the NUJ.