Monday, January 09, 2012

Gordon in the courtroom

Gordon Smart has been giving "evidence" to the Leveson enquiry this morning; his written submission to the enquiry has just been published.

He seems to print an awful lot of photos of celebrity's kids for someone who takes the PCC code so seriously.

This bit is interesting, where Gordon talks about the use of "sources":

Without further corroboration, that story would not be published. This happens very occaSionally, For example, one member of my staff had a great contact linked to a female pop star. She was reluctant to reveal his/her identity because both she and her contact were aware I was close to the pop star in question and they had concerns about the contact’s anonymity being compromised. The story was published because I was able to corroborate the information officially through the PR company and my contacts.
Gordon also shares the process which went into the publication of the photo from Mani's mum's funeral, and - oh! - the heartbreaking difficulties he faced deciding to publish:
By way of example, this year I chose to print a picture of a band reunited for the first time in 20 years after an acrimonious split. The picture was taken by a pub barman at the wake of one of the band member’s mothers. After careful consideration I decided the story of their reunion was such a positive pieces of news, I felt we could publish the picture despite the circumstances in which it had been taken. The publication of this picture caused some upset at the time amongst certain relatives of the bereaved band member, but I have since spoken to him and he accepted that it was a fair decision to publish
You'll spot that the upset was amongst a number of relatives, who have turned into a "him" by the second clause of the sentence.

And you'd have to wonder at the mindset of a man who - even if a self-justification written months later - would think that it was "positive" that two people had met up at a funeral.

The other strange thing is that Gordon claims that all Bizarre stories are rigorously stood-up before publication; and yet this photo was published connected to a claim the Roses were reuniting. A tale which was pretty comprehensively rubbished as soon as it appeared. Unfortunately, Gordon's written evidence doesn't seek to connect how the story was simultaneously being stood up while being knocked down everywhere else. Perhaps a question for another day?

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