This last week has seen the Daily M*il show the worst of the British Press – but to be fair they are not the only ones who push the boundaries of acceptability on a daily basis. There are great journalists in the UK, excellent columnists and stories that must be reported but too often egos an agendas get in the way of a good story. So if I ruled the world this is how I would run things:
1. If you lie or print a story that requires an apology, that apology has to be the same size, length and position in the paper. If you lie on the front page, you apologise on the front page. Right of Reply must also be allowed by the same rules and should not be subject to ridicule.
2. Stop page 3. Please we live in the 21st Century, how backward are we as a country that we need this dated and sad photo everyday. It’s not sexy or ironic so what is its purpose anymore?
3. If you support a political party you should have to print this alongside your title to make it clear from which perspective you are writing. This would help the hard of thinking and show them exactly the agenda of the paper. If neutral it should say so.
4. Stop printing any photographs that were taken by people climbing over fences, chasing cars, door-stepping people, and with intrusive long lenses. If the photo isn’t take with consent or from a publicly accessible position it shouldn’t go to press. The increasingly sordid and competitive paparazzi shots are disgraceful and need to be stopped. If you don’t print them, they won’t take them.
5. Learn the difference between news and not news. If it’s a company press release just print it as such and stop pretending to us that it’s anything else it’s not news. If it’s a celebrity going shopping it’s not news. If it’s a story about a socialite, a relative of someone famous or anyone called Kardashian it’s not news.
6. Stop belittling people because of how they look. Putting red circles around parts of people’s bodies is not news and it’s bullying. I’m sure if the camera were facing the other way we’d run out of red ink.
7. If it’s a quiet news day why not do features on positive stories, organisations and charities to fill your pages rather than make shit up? Tell us more about the “Great” of Great Britain and give those people and groups the oxygen of publicity.
8. No one person should own more than one newspaper per country. We need a variety of voices to tell us the news and this way we get an honest and varied view of the world rather than the small agenda setting handful we have at the moment.
9. There must be an independent regulator that can punish and challenge the lies and inappropriate content of our press. If it is going to survive as a medium it has to open itself up and be seen to accept that they can’t self regulate anymore as it’s not working.
10. Print the whole story. Not an edited version – the whole story. Whether it’s an interview or a report there is no need to edit the facts from the public to make the story something other than the truth. Why misrepresent? If it’s worth printing in the first place – print the truth and what was actually said and what actually happened. That’s news.