Better than Crufts

The venerable Dr Clifford Longley who was religious affairs editor of the Times for twenty years, has let rip at his successor, a Ms Gledhill, who has been doing the job ever since, in the letters page of the Catholic Herald. This is a delayed response to her ridiculous, and much ridiculed, front page splash about the Anglicans and Roman Catholics uniting.

I suppose an excitable tabloid reporter, with no knowledge of theology, religious affairs, or English history might, with imagination at full stretch, just about draw the conclusion that Ms Gledhill offered.

I have to say that this is a little unfair. It is true that Ruth works on a tabloid and that she is a fantastically excitable newshound whose tail wags her whole body whenever she’s on the scent of a story. But I have known her stop, and think, and back away from publishing untruths. And I don’t think Clifford understands the implications of “tabloid journalism” when he goes on to say that it is part of the responsibilities of a specialist news correspondent, in quoting such a text, to apply an expert understanding of the context and history of the matter in order to offer an interpretation that is in accord with the intentions of the writers, as they may be discerned. Those skills are no part of the duties of a tabloid reporter. All tendencies to exercise them are discouraged by the management. This is what Ruth meant when she said to accuse her of sensationalism was to pay tribute to her news-writing skills. She works on a mid-market tabloid paper.

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One Response to Better than Crufts

  1. Ambridge Vicar says:

    Oh come on, it was outrageous, even by Ruth’s standards. The only reason she is still in post is because News International doesn’t think religious news is very importantIt’s a pity, because I’m amongst those who’ve seen Ruth get better at what she does. This doesn’t set my regard for her back to zero, but I do wonder if we don’t know enough about the pressures of Murdoch’s people to deliver.The Times, as we all know, was a different paper in Longley’s day. What amazes me is how durable some of the readership is. One of the brightest men I know, one of the churchwardens from my last parish, still subscribes to it.

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