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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Knife crime rants from the Press are no help

ANNOUNCEMENT of a new crime, 'aggravated possession', that would allow knife carriers to be jailed for threatening or intimidating others with a blade should be seen as significant progress.

However, reviewing the media since that news presented by David Cameron you get the impression everyone is trying to score partisan points over the issue.

Honestly, the press shows itself to be a poor guardian of common sense when the media decries a positive decision as a negative - The Mirror: Coalition pledge to get touch on crime shattered.

And then the Guardian similarly attacks the Government. Even the Financial Times took time to fill column inches with yet another rant. Why? To present an opposing view? It simply confuses and dilutes attempts to tackle knife and other crime.

This example of poor media coverage seems to be a prime case of too many cooks spoiling the broth; everyone's got an opinion - and it's not helping.

I wonder if we really are seeing the writing on the wall as far as a national media is concerned; they seem out of touch sometimes as far as understanding and being effective at solving real issues.

Seeing the News of the World close down is probably an example of the public's growing disenchantment, distaste and distance from that part of the media profession which works poorly (and for NOTW, who's stock-in-trade is to humiliate). Maybe it's just not a great read anymore and there isn't sufficient money in dirt digging anymore - readers are increasingly less interested in it.

Papers like the FT and the Mirror need to pay more attention to their UK audience. The challenge is to provide a cogent, useful publication that brings benefit to UK society and the readership they represent. Rants and poorly informed opinion are not up to the job.