I’M IRRITATED by the Twitterati’s glee at the imminent ‘downfall’ of Jeremy Clarkson. The man is an accomplished journalist who has columns in two of our best-selling newspapers, is the author of many chart-topping books and is a very clever broadcaster who knows his audience and delivers exactly what they want. He is immensely popular with tens of millions of viewers in this country and abroad. (And if you don’t like him, just don’t fucking watch him.)
More to the point, he has made an awful lot of money for the BBC down the years, allowing the corporation to churn out any number of worthy documentaries about black, disabled, lesbian, single mothers and is a major export earner for Her Majesty’s government. All that’s going to happen now is that he’ll piss off to Sky TV and pocket that cash for himself.
The BBC is a viciously spiteful place, from local radio right up to top management. For a supposedly civilised organisation, it makes the hurly burly of newspapers look like a WI coffee morning. Once Clarkson was publicly put on a final warning, it was only a matter of time before a fatal misdemeanour occurred. Well done, chaps. The Leftie luvvies might be sniggering behind their hands, but they’ve dealt the Corporation a grievous blow at a time when its every action is under the political microscope. If only the Beeb’s apparatchiks had gone after Jimmy Savile with the vigour with which they’ve pursued Clarkson.
MUCH TALK of the ‘Newsroom of the Future’ this week as a further tranche of jobs come under threat at Johnston Press and Newsquest. Here’s one former editor’s recollection of the doomed theory in practice: “When my company restructured they gave us the same spiel – the ‘newsroom of the future’ they called it, which basically consisted of replacing sub-editors with three flatscreen TVs on the wall with Sky Sports News on, one of which promptly broke.”
Sounds pretty accurate to me.
HERE’S A newspaper group chief executive last week describing his company’s performance in the year to March 2014: “I’m pleased that we are delivering on our promises: to increase revenues, invest for the future and maintain a disciplined financial approach”.
And here’s the editor-in-chief weighing in: “Thanks to our balance sheet transformation, we can look forward to a period of targeted investment in the world-class journalism, digital excellence and increasingly international readership”.
Sounds pretty good, eh? Except that the CEO is the Guardian’s Andrew Miller and his partner in bollocks is Alan Rusbridger, custodians of an operation that ONLY lost £30.6 million in those 12 months. At this rate, that £800 million trust fund (invested in part abroad to reduce/dodge tax) intended to preserve the newspaper “in perpetuity” will only last another 26 years. At least I won’t be around to see its demise.
The Grey Cardigan has been in newspapers since the days of hot metal and expense accounts. After a lengthy career as chief sub on several regional newspapers, plus a multitude of shifts on the nationals, he was appointed editor of the Evening Beast in 2009 before being ignominiously 'rationalised' last year. He is currently collecting gas in jam jars in case the Russians cut us off. @thegreycardigan