Posts Tagged journalism

Skeptics in the Pub: Michael Marshall

Bad News: How PR Came to Rule Modern Journalism

Michael Marshall: Bad News: How PR Came to Rule Modern Journalism by Michael Marshall

When: Thursday, December 15th, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool

“You can’t believe everything you read in the papers.”

Everyone knows this, but few people realise this truism extends far beyond the celebrity pages and gossip columns, and spills into ‘real’ news. Here, the near-invisible influence of PR companies is often pivotal in deciding what news gets told, and how it gets reported. By taking a brief look at the history of modern journalism, and using real examples taken from recent headlines, Michael Marshall will show why you really, really can’t believe everything you read in the papers.

Michael Marshall is the co-founder and vice-president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and appears on the “Skeptics with a K” and ‘Be Reasonable’ podcasts. Besides organising the national and international 10:23 Campaign against homeopathy, he writes about the often-unsuspected role of PR in modern media. Michael has written for The Times, The Guardian and The New Statesman, and has lectured as part of the Sheffield Hallam University Journalism degree.

Ben Goldacre once called him ‘a mighty nerd from Liverpool’, and the self-proclaimed psychic Joe Power once called him something very rude and unprintable.

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Skeptics in the Pub: Richard Peppiatt

The Street Of Shame: Tales of Fleet Street

Rich Peppiatt: The Street Of Shame: Tales of Fleet Streetby Richard Peppiatt

When: Thursday, August 18th, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool

Rich Peppiatt is a former tabloid reporter who earlier this year quit the Daily Star in a sensational open letter to proprietor Richard Desmond.

His talk will lift the lid on what life is really like behind the doors of Britain’s red tops, what drives the journalists who work for them, and just what needs to be done to reform an industry which for too long has behaved with impunity.

In what promises to be a night packed with anecdotes from the jaw-dropping to the hilarious, Rich will take you on a tour through the pitfalls of Fleet Street.

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Simon Jenkins Versus The ‘Bishops’ of Science (Mad Journalist Syndrome – Part 2)

Back in February, I wrote this blogpost in response to a Simon Jenkins opinion piece in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section, in which he accused scientists of scaremongering over the swine flu pandemic. My particular issue with the article (I had many) was Jenkins’ suggestion that because things didn’t turn out as badly as they could have, then we should have ignored ‘scientists’ and played it safe (that was the benefit of hindsight unironically extolled by Jenkins there). To me, Jenkins’ suggestion completely missed the point. The precautions taken to deal with the pandemic were for ‘potential’ danger – no-one could know for sure exactly what would happen, it was what ‘could’ happen that mattered. It was a weighing up of risk. The whole of Jenkins’ piece seemed motivated more by an irrational hatred of scientists than out of any reasonable or rational concern. It was not the first time Jenkins had done this either (see here, here and here) – the piece was just one in a long line of anti-science rants which Jenkins seems to randomly publish in the otherwise science-friendly Guardian, like taking a shit in the middle of a gateau.

Well, he’s done it again. Read the rest of this entry »

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