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back to article 2020: A Press Odyssey – reporter licensing explained

It's 2020, and a schoolgirl is doing her homework. "Daddy, what's a press licence?" "Oh, that. Well a press licence allows you to call yourself a journalist and get into official events, for official journalists." "What for?" "Well you get into events held by the government or a company, or for example a football club, and …

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Write Populist Peice That Most Will Agree With....

....then turn on the comments section and bask in the glory.

Textbook Orlowski

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Surely...

... the fact that you don't agree with everything Andrew O writes would be a sign that he's reasonably impartial?

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Non Sequitur

Kristian, You can't determine impartiality from a sample set of two. You need a sample set large enough to significantly approximate the mean opinion.

Besides, I'm quite sure spencer's point was about O's selective use of the comments section, not about his impartiality.

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My point wasn't intended to be any more scientifically-based...

... than the one I was replying to.

Andrew O selectively uses the comments, true, but to be honest I would too if I was writing on this site about some of the topics he does. An article about Google/Apple/Open Source not being the saviour of the universe is going to produce a pretty predictable and tiresome steam of abusive comments, with lots of heat, and no light, so there's not much point in leaving them on.

The readership of the Reg is technically literate, but you don't have to work in tech for very long to know that this doesn't always translate into an ability to deal with criticism or carry on a polite argument. I have seen some horrific personal abuse hurled, face to face, about the most trivial of subjects, and adding the shield of anonymity and distance makes things worse.

Besides, if one really wants to make an informed comment about something, or let the author know that they've erred in fact or sanity, sending an email would be more effective than showboating in this peanut gallery.

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Joke

"if one really wants to make an informed comment about something, or let the author know that they've erred in fact or sanity, sending an email would be more effective than showboating in this peanut gallery."

You must be using a different internet to the rest of us...

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@Kristian Walsh

"The readership of the Reg is technically literate, but you don't have to work in tech for very long to know that this doesn't always translate into an ability to deal with criticism or carry on a polite argument"

A good example of this would be yourself, in this thread, replying to post making a small observation about enabling the comments section.

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I didn't think I was being impolite to you. If you took it that way, I apologise unreservedly.

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jai
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top stuff

for a moment there i thought i was reading one of Verity's works

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Tip - the verity ones are clever and funny

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What paper does Andrew read?

"So was the rubbishy newspaper that printed the untrue story about the other rubbishy newspaper the first to need a permit?"

So what paper does Andrew read?

I guess it's not The Guardian then. The Telegraph or more likely The Sun I think, or even more likely none at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Professional journalism?

So The Register stands by all the activities exposed in the phone hacking enquiry? It was much more serious than this article implies, and a lot of made me feel ill. Is this what freedom of the press is about? It's a shame the media can't act like other professional bodies, to define codes of conduct, professional standards, and confront those who abuse their privileges. Instead, for every horrible, seedy, bullying media activity that's exposed (despite the efforts of journalists to cover it up) we are all treated to a rousing chorus of, "Freedom of the Press". Yes, we should expose corrupt politicians, but who watches the corrupt journalists?

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"...who watches the corrupt journalists?"

Other journalists. They get jealous when others of their ilk seem to be getting too big for their boots, so the greater your fame, the harder your fall.

Private Eye may be edited by a smug little gnome with a face his own mother would never tire of punching, but that magazine serves a very useful purpose. And Hislop, for all his faults, does at least have a moral compass.

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Anonymous Coward

Ethics founded on jealousy?

@Sean Timarco Baggaley: "They get jealous when others of their ilk seem to be getting too big for their boots, so the greater your fame, the harder your fall."

Jealousy seems a poor motivator - it's more likely to lead to the undermining of honest, successful journalists than the unethical ones. Journalists should have a professional body with clear standards of ethics, e.g. it is never acceptable to exploit children in order to obtain information about their parents. That kind of thing is happening, and the media is turning a blind eye to it. If journalists don't act positively against this, it brings them all into disrepute. And ultimately the catch-cry "freedom of the press" will become a bit like the calling "wolf!" - no will take any notice and the government, with the backing of the people, will be able to impose regulation.

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Boffin

"deleted voicemails on a missing girl's phone"

"But it turns out they hadn't".

No, they just listened to the voice mails (which they shouldn't have been doing) and then the automatic system decided "Oh, look those mails have been listened to and not saved, so let's delete them".

So the actions of the News of the Screws *were* responsible for the voicemails being deleted and frankly, given that it was a gutter rag with a habit of fabricating details in their stories, they got everything they deserved.

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But it proves Orlowski is real journalist...

...being able to write about something, yet avoid the basic relevent facts so as to enable coming to a self serving conclusion.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, I can't give it an Utterly Terrible rating because I only do that when he's disabled commentary. And it was quite funny if you ignore the underlying premise.

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Facepalm

Several issues given a very wide berth there, which might have been forgiven ... if it was funny.

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"Daddy, what's a press licence?"

It's like what used to be called a press card, which was equally useless in any given situation and rarely granted a hack access to an event if you looked like you might not give 'good' coverage in the 'right' media.

However, in the olden days, the press card didn't operate like journalism's version of the Tesco club card, whereby the more on message copy you churn for your media partners, for minimum wage, the more access you get to your media partners.

Besides, most of the best journalism happens online. That's why the intarweb versions of some of the dead tree press is so successful. Well, that and blatant theft of what they came to refer to as "unlicensed journalism".

The clever man who invented licensed journalism decreed that if a story or a picture is not licensed then it is unlicensed and as such it is acceptable ok to steal said works from the creator, give it to an unpaid intern to have a veneer of licensed respectability applied. Behind a paywall.

The Clever man's idea made the business of journalism respectable again.

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YAY!

An AO story I dont have to try to vote to oblivion because comments are disabled.

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FAIL

Is the author in denial???

"One of the more rubbishy Sunday blogs, er, newspapers did something quite dreadful. It deleted voicemails on a missing girl's phone.... Yes. But it turned out it wasn't true, they hadn't."

No, they just interfered with what became an investigation for the murder of the missing girl. By illegally listening to the voicemails, and then the subsequent automatic deletion, they gave police and more sickeningly the parents cause to believe the girl was fine, and most probably just a runaway, but lets not get some facts get in the way of your rant. If the trashy rag was so innocent and hard done to, surely it would have fought against the injust allegations, no instead it decided to keep quiet and try to close it's doors, hoping the story would go to sleep so it could get on with the job of re-opening the paper as The Sunday Sun. Only the story didnt' go away, more and more details about the illegal actions of the paper and it's owners kept coming out over the next few days, weeks, months, and still now. More and more people started getting arrested, and subsequent criminal investigations began. But dont' let all this get in the way of the point you were trying to make, actually what was the point you were trying to make?

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FAIL

I think what Andrew is suggesting* is that the current backlash against getter journalism will result in "official" journalism becoming emasculated republishing of press releases and official statements and "unofficial" journalism becoming disconnected from the events it claim to report because no one official will talk to them. In the dialogue (in the literary sense) he throws in a couple of topical references, slightly distorted for effect. The final punchline is supposed to shock I guess (it's the usual form of this style) but I doubt you'll find too many kids today who know what a haberdasher is (most would probably equate mason with Freemason) so the gag falls flat.

Like so many of Andrew's recent pieces if degenerates into a straw man argument. The bald fact is that the you're hard pressed to find anything but "rubbishy newspapers" and that has more to do with events in the 1980s than people refusing to pay for news twenty years later. In this case I fear that Andrew is confusing cause and effect because it suits his ideological purpose. Frankly I agree with a lot of what he writes (when I can figure out what what it's about) but advancing easily deflected straw men and false dichotomies does your cause no good at all.

*it's becoming harder to tell as he sinks deeper into trying to be clever and ironic. What happened Andrew? You used to write quite clearly back when you were based in SF.

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Even if the messages hadn't been deleted

The public were appalled even without the detail of the messages getting deleted. When it was royalty or celebrities or politicians, no-one much cared about phone hacking because those targets benefit from having a high public profile, in some cases have sought it, and were felt able to look after themselves. Dowler's family were much more sympathetic victims. The public cared about them.

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