Screaming black eyed child ghost terror

“Screaming black eyed child ghost terror” screams the front page of today’s Daily Star with a story of a ghostly apparition on Cannock Chase – the Staffordshire beauty spot that is, literally, on my doorstep. I don’t give such stories much credence. It’s up there with the Cannock Chase Pig Man; the Cannock Chase Puma; […]

When is a journalist a “commercial observer”?

The Conservatives are in town – that’s if your town is Birmingham. They are relatively frequent visitors to the Midlands and a few years ago, with a confirmed commission, I applied for media accreditation to cover the conference. My application was denied. The reason that was given was that I was not representing a national publication […]

Will you pray for the media?

What do you think of when somebody says “the media”? For most people, the term is synonymous with “Fleet Street” – the eponymous collective of scribes, hacks, journalists, reporters, photographers, snappers – whatever you want to call us, that write or take pictures for newspapers. Whenever I deliver media training, I always try to dissuade the participants from talking […]

British Airways’ “insensitive” Indian Ocean advert

British Airways has apologised for an “inappropriate” advert encouraging people to “forget the commute and discover the Indian Ocean.” In a statement, the airline says: “Our Indian Ocean advert contained pre-scheduled content that we recognise is inappropriate at this time. We’re sorry for any offence caused.” Is it really inappropriate? Was an apology really necessary? […]

When Christians lie to abuse the truth

Recently, a couple of websites have been created to cast doubt on last year’s investigation into the shamed evangelist Tony Anthony. I had carried out an extensive investigation into Tony Anthony’s “story”, supported by a group of concerned Christians who had been carrying out their own investigation. A subsequent investigation by an independent panel nominated […]

Police Interceptors highlights mockery of justice

Watching the fly-on-the-wall documentary Police Intercepters on 5* tonight, it’s impossible not to think that the English justice system is not fit for purpose. In one case, a couple were caught cultivating cannabis in their loft with a full hydroponic kit – lighting, insulation, the works. The commentator explained that the CPS dropped charges against […]

Goodnight Madiba

Nelson Mandela has died, it has been confirmed tonight. Madiba, as he was known, was the first post-apartheid President of South Africa, but he was far more than that. By the time I was born in 1970, Mandela had already been in prison for eight years for his leadership of the anti-Apartheid activists. This week […]

The Chancellor is expected to …

“The Chancellor is expected to…” that’s the headline on BBC Five Live’s breakfast news bulletins today – with similar being used across the BBC network and throughout the media. But what, exactly, is the Chancellor expected to do? Or, more importantly, who is it that expects him to do this? What we do know is […]

Not News: Miley Cyrus’ latest PR stunt

I’ve worked in media relations. Like many hacks I crossed the journalistic river and sold out to the bigger rewards available in PR. But a couple of years ago I did a U-turn and crossed the river again to work once more as a journalist. I understand the need for brands, products, events, whatever, to […]

Chelsea FC have no place targeting the Black Country

I don’t usually pay much attention to advertising – even though I’ve provided the voice-over in a radio advertising campaign on Beacon, BRMB (both now rebranded Free Radio), WABC and Signal (okay, I was the producer, but it still counts – I’m available for hire as a voice artist!). But I do glance occasionally at […]

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