16 August 2008

Media Diet Week 33

Press: no contest this week, it's been Press Gazette all the way. I was infuriated by the paper's lackadaisical attitude to its subscribers, so I took my fury to the editor and his blog. I was not alone. Irritated hacks were busy venting on Twitter and Journobiz, where it also transpired that Thursday's letter from PG to subscribers, in which the editor-in-chief Tony Loynes went in for the hard sell to persuade people to stick with the new, enfeebled PG, came in several versions. Some subscribers were being offered free entry to PG's freelance database (which was launched only in June and was being offered back then for £62.50). Others were offered a free copy of the Hollis media directory for 2009. Curiouser and curiouser. It then turned out that the Hollis directory has always been offered to subscribers, although never to me, and that a number of journalists never received it at all despite chasing for it. I made the difficult decision last night to cancel my subscription - I'd like to support the industry paper, but not at that price and not as a monthly. And especially not when it's now such poor value. The subscriptions office showed no surprise when I asked for a refund - clearly, many others have too (I know personally of quite a few who have cancelled). So farewell PG, I wish you well but seriously doubt your chances of survival now.

Blogs: I won't bore you all further with Dominic Ponsford's blog (see above), which occupied so much of my time in the last few days. Say hello instead to Joe's Blog, in which our eponymous blogger has been posting some interesting stuff on technology, particularly in a social context. It's still notably August and holiday season - the blogosphere is pretty quiet right now.

TV/radio: I am still glued to House of Saddam, which has turned out to be absolutely gripping stuff, surely one of the best dramas in ages on the TV. I was also delighted to discover that BBC4 had decided to repeat Sleepers, a comedy drama first shown in 1991 in 6 30-minute episodes. The premise was simple - two Soviet agents were secreted into the UK in the 1960s and told to integrate until called into duty, then forgotten about. Until 25 years later, with hilarious consequences as the KGB, MI5 and the CIA race all over the UK hunting them down. Why it has never been reshown earlier is a mystery - Sleepers has not dated at all and there are fine performances from a very much younger and slimmer Warren Clarke and a seemingly ageless Nigel Havers as the two hapless agents. My other TV fix this week was Andrew Marr's Britain From Above, which was beautiful and fascinating, and demonstrated just how thinly our infrastructure is stretched and how close to falling into chaos it is.

Books: I decided I'm not quite ready for Alistair Campbell's diaries so this week I opted for something a lot lighter - Jessica Callan's Wicked Whispers, her account of life as a 3AM girl on the Daily Mirror's gossip column. A very entertaining read, with a lot of insight into how this particular type of journalism works behind the scenes.

1 comment:

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Ooh, you've just reminded me to catch up with the house of saddam on iplayer, and I'll check out sleepers too ty.
BTW, if you still fancy meeting up for a coffee do let me know.Perhaps in a couple of weeks once I've shaken this lurgy?
Hope all is well with you, BG x