British newspaper front pages review at midnight: Friday 5 November 2010

These are the days when newspaper editors earn their salaries; when nothing is happening and they have no stories stored up. All the papers seem to be scrabbling around for news this week. In the New Labour days we would have had an anonymous leak from Campbell or someone but right now the coalition government is staying quiet and all the papers are left rooting around for something to write.

The Times – “Extremist website urges Muslims to track down MPs” – has gone with the website used by the woman who stabbed Stephen Timms MP as he had voted for the Iraq War. The danger with this story, as with all stories of extremism, is that by reporting it – and particularly with splashing it on their front page – newspapers exacerbate the problems in society and give voice to the minority voices that reasonable society cuts out. The American pastor who threatened to burn the Quran had only 50 members of his church but the coverage he received made those numbers shoot up. Papers have a responsibility to be careful in these situations. Stephen Timms is the only MP to have been attacked in 7 years since the war, and so the numbers of dedicated followers of this website has must be negligible.

The Daily Telegraph – “Share prices shoot up to pre-banking crisis levels” – has a positive story about the stock market reaching the same levels it was at before the general election. The article is obviously slanted towards its traditional market, with an example being written in about the amount an investor with a £20,000 ISA could expect to gain.

The Guardian – “BBC faces news blackout today as staff go on strike” – leads with the BBC strike and the ensuing news chaos that will ensue when people don’t get Newsnight and The Today Programme. I don’t know what people will do without Fiona Bruce (photographed) battering some unsuspecting minister for a whole day!  Sometimes the left-wing media is very self-indulgent.

The FT – “Hands loses EMI court case with Citi” – after last night having a financial story that is interesting to all the FT reverts back to a more Incestual story about the banking industry. English financier Guy Hands (great name) has lost a law suit against Citigroup. One for the bankers methinks.

The Daily Mail – “Ink bomb defused with 17 minutes to spare” – is a fantastic title but unfortunately nowhere (on the front page at least, the story carries over to page 6) is it explained. It says that the bomb was only 17 minutes from exploding “it was claimed” but nowhere in the article does it cite this source. In all probability it is a poor source but the title was so good that they went with it anyway.

The Independent – “First blood to the coalition” – is about the fire-fighters backing down over strikes. A good angle to take on the story as it argues that the retreat will encourage the coalition to feel confident in taking on other public sector strikes.

If you only read one: Not going to steer you today, all about as good as each other…


One response to “British newspaper front pages review at midnight: Friday 5 November 2010

  1. Joe. Darling. I am genuinely grateful that you posted this. If you think this is sarcasm, please think again.

    I have a presentation tomorrow where I have to talk about news stories on terror/crime (a topic which as you can imagine brings me no end of delight), and this has just saved my ass.

    I’ve been quietly reading this blog the past coupla weeks and found it highly effective in that I can now sound as if I have read all the broadsheets (and almost coming across like I deserve to be in the class) without the pure, terrifying tedium of actually doing so.

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