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Dog fight in ‘Fleet Street’

Could it be that John Witherow, editor of the Sunday Times, is so vindictive that he ordered one of his hacks to do a hatchet job on the Guardian after one of its columnists described the ST under his editorship as “both unloveable and unexciting”?

Roy Greenslade, the Guardian’s media blogger thinks so. Commenting on a half-page in today’s ST business section headed “Guardian lost between old media and new media”, he says that after one of his pieces, Witherow had warned: “I will always retaliate, and I have many more readers than you do, so I can cause you much more pain.”

That was probably before the Sunday Times put up its price to £2 last November and saw sales slide by nearly 6%.

The piece in the ST by Dominic Rushe, more usually employed writing “On Wall Street” from New York, has a lot of the signs of a hatchet job including quoting “insiders” and “one media pundit”. But you can judge for yourself without paying £2 for the paper.

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  1. Colin Berry (Dr) says

    I still buy the ST, but I no longer read it with the same confidence and pleasure that it gave back in the 70s and 80s. In those days the articles were well-researched and authoritative.
    Then the rot set in. There were the instant post-mortems on every airline crash, pointing fingers of blame, that were not subsequently confirmed by the painstaking official enquiries. What gave the ST the right to sit in instant judgement on so emotive an issue as human tragedy ?

    The ST then used to reveal astonishing ignorance in matters of personal finance, like not knowing the way building societies had long calculated interest on an annual basis.

    I once wrote to them showing how as a result of this tradition, early repayments could earn one no credit in reduced interest for up to a year. The letter was acknowledged, shelved, and then the comments reappeared weeks later under a journalist’s byline with no mention of my tip-off.

    They then got rid of Roger Anderson, the consumer champion, who won redress for many victims of scams etc (including someone in my own family). He was never replaced. Why ? Was he upsetting too many advertisers with his growing impatience and contempt for industry malpractices ?

    Recently I wrote to the ST Letters editor, pointing out that their so-called Facts feature on carbon monoxide in the aftermath of the Corfu tragedy was entirely wrong in suggesting the gas was heavy, and would sink to floor level. It was weeks before a correction was made, and then it was placed in the most inconspicuous place on Page 2 instead of appearing as a letter.

    Years ago, there was a entire feature in the Magazine on Watson of “Watson&Crick” DNA double helix fame, presenting him as an expatriate Briton who had been forced to desert his home country. I pointed out that he was a Chicago man. At least that made the letters column. But I now see so much ignorance and superficiality that I frankly don’t take a thing I read in the ST at face value.

    Given the existence of Google and search engines, there really is no excuse any longer for this continuing sloppiness.

    Given this paper now costs £2 in Britain ( and a skeleton version where in live in France is €5), I think we are entitled to better than this.

    My wife is furious because they have suddenly stopped doing the Scottish (and Welsh and Irish) sections, which she used to access online. At this rate, we’ll stop buying the ‘dead-tree’ version altogether. What price customer loyalty when one is taken for granted in this way ?

  2. Megite Technology News: What's Happening Right Now says

    […] tit-for-tat response to criticism Andrew Grant-Adamson / Wordblog :   Dog fight in ‘Fleet Street’ 22. COM 125 Week 2: MMORPGs 4 hours ago   permalink Space-action-hero.blogspot.com […]

  3. Dreams and Daemons says

    * Re which I posted an unflattering few words to Julian Glover’s thread in the Guardian’s Davos coverage in its “Comment is Free” section. ed: update Monday 29 Jan . Have just posted the following to Wordblog ( “MSM bush telegraph 2” in the Escape Routes) re the steady decline in the quality of reporting in the Sunday Times over many years. “I still buy the ST, but I no longer read it with the same confidence and pleasure that it gave back in the 70s and

  4. Dreams and Daemons says

    * Re which I posted an unflattering few words to Julian Glover’s thread in the Guardian’s Davos coverage in its “Comment is Free” section. ed: update Monday 29 Jan . Have just posted the following to Wordblog ( “MSM bush telegraph 2” in the Escape Routes) re the steady decline in the quality of reporting in the Sunday Times over many years. “I still buy the ST, but I no longer read it with the same confidence and pleasure that it gave back in the 70s and