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Blog : Posts tagged with 'Grimsby Telegraph'

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Journalistic accuracy

In which the news needs its facts checking


Long-term readers might remember that, back in the mists of time, I upset some busy bees at the Grimsby Telegraph after describing that newspaper as “rather news-thin”. Which, indeed, it is: they don’t have much news in it, because they don’t have the reporters or the money to research much news. I kept meaning to take a random copy, take it apart, and break down its content into “quality” and “filler” – the latter being things like the letters pages, readers’ photos, TV listings, local sports reports* and so on; but, not living anywhere that I can get hold of a copy easily, it has been put on the back burner.

I was gratified to see, though, that its stablemate the Bristol Evening Post may have similar issues. Certainly, job cuts at both the Grimsby Telegraph and the Evening Post were making the news recently; and I’ve since noticed that the Evening Post no longer seems to pay as much attention to the accuracy of what it prints.

On Monday afternoon, a story appeared on their website, concerning a street fight in Bedminster the night before; your average local news story really. Five people were injured, and police closed the street** to search for evidence. As the Evening Post said:

The street has now reopened

Which it has. Unfortunately for the Evening Post, that story is dated 15:35, Monday. In the real world, at 5pm, everything was still cordoned off, as CSI Bedminster’s finest were still going about their jobs: white suits, facemasks and all. Oops.

Earlier in the day the police had said that they’d probably have tidied everything up by lunch-time. Clearly the Post staffer responsible for that story had heard as much, assumed that “probably” meant “definitely”, and didn’t have chance to check their facts before going to press. Which is understandable, given that it’s a small point, and the Evening Post has to get a paper out every afternoon however few reporters it has left. It makes me wonder though; if they don’t check small details like this, what else gets printed unchecked?

“It’s just like you reviewing things you haven’t seen or read,” said K, when we talked about it later.

“You’ve got a point,” I admitted.

“You should be writing reviews for them, then!” she said. Now there’s an idea.

* Most of which, especially if they appear without a byline, are essentially press-releases from the teams involved.

** Here’s a factoid for trivia fans: the street in question is part of the longest road entirely in England.

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Regionalism

In which we discuss employment in Grimsby, as it’s in the news


Nice to see the Grimsby area in the news for once, even if it isn’t very good news. I bet the Grimsby Telegraph‘s news staff have been so excited over the last week, to get some national-quality news to report on, they’ve probably been wetting themselves.*

I was rather wistful myself, what with formerly being local – so much so that in my teens I did work experience in the very refinery that’s been on the news. It’s bad luck, really, for the contractors who sparked the protests off: they would have to bring foreign workers in to one of the most reactionary and xenophobic parts of England. Grimsby’s the only place where I’ve heard someone say the immortal line: “I’m not a racist, but I do think all those coloureds should go back to their own country”. Without irony. And mean it.***

I’m also well aware that the area’s an employment blackspot; on the other hand, though, I also know that it’s not as bad as you might think. There are great estates full of people who have been on benefits ever since they were old enough.**** There aren’t many jobs other than in a few limited sectors. But, when I lived there, I had contacts at a local employment agency. Within a few sectors – mostly factory line work – there were once plenty of jobs. They go to immigrants; Poles and Lithuanians. That’s because Poles and Lithuanians were the ones who turned up to apply for these jobs, and were the most employable when they turned up. It’s easier, I guess, to sit in the pub and rant about how all these foreigners are taking the jobs of honest British workers, than it is to go out and get one yourself.

I said “there were once jobs” because I’ve not been around there for a while, and all I’ve heard since I left has been about factories closing. I don’t know what things are like there at the moment, but from what I’ve heard things aren’t going well. I’m not saying, either, that the work in question at the refinery shouldn’t have gone to a local company. The refinery and its suppliers, though, already in total make up a big chunk of the local workforce, and the small number of foreign contractors that have caused the protests make up a tiny proportion of the number of workers on the site.***** They haven’t put that big crowd outside the refinery gates out of work, either. Grimsby has bigger problems than foreign workers, much bigger problems. The issue shouldn’t be whether the Prime Minster should live up to some sound-bite his speech writers came up with a while back; it should be one of getting more investment into the area. More foreigners, in fact – both Lindsey refinery and the neighbouring Humber refinery are foreign-owned plants. It’s also a problem of education; and a problem of ending the area’s isolationism. You can’t exactly pick Grimsby up and move it closer to civilisation, but maybe things would be better if that could be done with some of the locals’ minds.

* Although their managers won’t like it – it might be a bit of a budget-stretcher for the Grimsby Telegraph, sending reporters all the way from Grimsby to Immingham. God knows what might happen – one of them might even try to put a burger-van lunch** on expenses!

** there aren’t many other refreshment options in the area, unless you can get in the refinery canteen.

*** And it was a nurse, too.

**** I would have said “ever since they left school”, but a lot of them didn’t go to school.

***** The site is, after all, the size of a small town.

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Legal matters

In which we talk about a Grimsby court case


Last autumn, a friend-of-a-friend back in Grimsby was having a quiet evening at home, when he saw some teenagers messing around in the street outside. They were attacking a neighbour’s fence. “Someone ought to say something about that,” he thought. He’s a fit, healthy, well-built chap, someone who can stand up for himself, so he didn’t see why it shouldn’t be him. He works in a security-type job; just in case something happened, he put on his stab jacket before going outside.

Just in case.

He was stabbed, several times, and beaten with planks of wood, fracturing his skull. He survived by backing into a corner, and because of the jacket.

There were several witnesses, and arrests quickly followed. The trial date was set to: July 2nd, this year. The witnesses agreed to testify, on the proviso that they would be granted anonymity.

You know what’s coming now. On June 18th, the House of Lords ruled that convictions should not be decisively based on anonymous witnesses. The government plans to change this within the month; but, nevertheless, the CPS did not want to try delaying the above trial. Yesterday morning, the trial opened, and the prosecution witnesses suddenly all found that the promised anonymity was no longer on offer. None of them would stand, so the magistrates threw out the trial.

So, nothing is happening. The alleged attackers have been released. Whether or not they can or ever will be charged again is a mystery to the victim. The local paper, the Grimsby Telegraph,* which loves to be tough on crime, tough on the reporting of crime, has apparently not reported it, although they normally love filling up odd column inches with reports from the magistrates. I suspect this is because they’re just as unsure about the legal status of things as everybody else involved.** I said to the people involved: “go to the national papers, they’ll be interested”. Whether they will do remains to be seen.

* regular readers will remember how much this blog loves the Grimsby Telegraph and vice-versa. Some day I do still plan to get hold of a copy and count what proportion of its content is actually reporter-written, and how much of it is wire reports, reader’s letters and photos, events listings and so on, so I can justify my previous description of it as “rather news-thin”.

** unless it’s a deadline thing, but I’d have thought a court report from Wednesday morning could have made it into Thursday’s (lunchtime-published) paper. When the attack happened it was, I think, a front-page story, complete with a big “injured victim” picture.

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Astroturf

In which we smell a rat


Yesterday’s post clearly touched off a nerve. You can see four disparaging comments on it; there are plenty more in the comment queue that I haven’t approved.

Funny thing is, though, they’re all from a single address. Either one person, or a group of people working in the same office. It’s from the domain nng.co.uk. Which is owned by the company Northcliffe Media Ltd – who are, amongst other things, the publishers of the famously pisspoor Grimsby Telegraph! I don’t think they can have liked what I wrote – I think I’ll send an email to the Telegraph itself and ask if this is deliberate, or just some staff mucking about.

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Pride

In which we note the Grimsby Telegraph’s latest marketing campaign


The rather news-thin Grimsby Telegraph newspaper has decided to jump on a fish-marketing bandwagon and declare today to be Great Grimsby Day. A day to be proud of the Grimsby area! Its scenic mudflats! Its thriving heroin-injecting scene! The active support for boxing and extreme wrestling seen in the town centre every Saturday night! The wide range of chain-based shopping opportunities, and the picturesquely decaying industrial areas. Be proud, people!

It’s a good thing, I suppose, that they didn’t get it confused with National Fetish Day, which – equally arbitrarily – was yesterday. I hate to think what would have happened. There’s not much of a fetish scene in Grimsby, after all; a couple of the regulars in the Lloyds Arms and that’s about it.* I can quite easily imagine the Grimsby Telegraph’s staffers not understanding what the word means.

* I’m exaggerating, slightly. There’s more like four, plus a couple more people who drink elsewhere.

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Star quality

In which we ask what the point of obscurity is


What makes a word a rude word?

I’m asking because of something I noticed yesterday. Scanning through the telly listings, I noticed that our local paper* won’t print the name of BBC3 show Tittybangbang. Instead, it was rendered “T***ybangbang”.

Now, I know this isn’t as hypocritical as The Sun, which similarly refuses to print the word “tits” despite featuring photos of topless models in almost every issue. It still strikes me as rather silly and pointless, though. It’s hardly likely to offend anyone, particularly as the paper’s digital telly listings are in tiny, almost unreadable print. It’s lip service to an old-fashioned “morality” in which respectable appearances are more important than anything underneath. Even for ruder rude words, it’s not as if asterisks really do hide anything – you all know what this f***ing sentence says.**

* the fearless Grimsby Telegraph

** it was “this flowing sentence”, of course. No, really. Honest. Would I lie to you?

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Daily Hate

In which I find the site is read by local journalists


Flicking through my logs, I noticed that this site had a visitor from associated.co.uk. My immediate assumption was that they work for Associated Newspapers, publishers of hate-filled rightwing scaremongering tabloids such as the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Grimsby Telegraph** and so on.

Indeed, a quick check showed that they did. More amusingly, though, a second quick check showed that they’re too lazy to point the domain at any useful webspace. They have set up a webserver at that address, but – as you’ll see if you click on the link – all it contains are the words “blah blah blah blah blah”.*

Their main website runs on some complex Perl-based active content system, and its web designers clearly aren’t that stupid, because they’ve managed to set up a favicon for the site. However, for some mysterious and unclear reason, the icon they’ve chosen is the Netscape Navigator logo, circa 1997. Given that AOL-Time Warner probably own the copyright on that, I wonder if we can persuade them to sue?

* “Much like their newspapers,” I could say if I was feeling cruel.

** Technically, the Grimsby Telegraph is probably owned by a different company for complicated tax reasons; it’s all the same group really though.

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