Wednesday 18 February 2009

Jade sells posh papers as well as tabloids says Max Clifford but is she "Freak TV?"

The upmarket 'quality' newspapers are writing about Jade Goody because "it helps to sell broadsheets as well as tabloids," her publicist Max Clifford told BBC Radio 4's Today proramme this morning.
Times columnist Matthew Parris, speaking on the same programme, said he was "completely comfortable" with the publicity surrounding Jade and said there was a lot of "snobbishness" in the disapproval of her.
But former BBC industrial and political correspondent Nick Jones claimed at an NUJ Left meeting in London last night that Jade, along with 13-year-old dad Alfie Patten, had become "Freak TV."
Jones was scathing about the way “traditional” broadcasters like the BBC and ITV were using video of stories like Jade’s cancer battle and Alfie and his baby, provided by tabloids like The Sun and the News of the World.
He said it was the type of material that the BBC would never have commissioned or broadcast and accused the regulatory bodies of being “asleep at the wheel”.
For my report on the NUJ Left meeting, where Roy Greenslade suggested that journalists will have to think outside the "capitalist box" and come up with new business models, see Press Gazette here. I have been helping out at PG while the editor is on paternity leave.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Matthew Parris. The latest and last chapter in the public life of Jade Goody shows (once again) how riddled with class prejudice our media are.

Middle class pontificators have been given space to die very publicly in the pages of serious national newspapers, giving readers weekly updates of their journey towards the ultimate fate of all living things. And why not? Why should death be closeted?

But when a working class girl says 'I want to make some money so my kids won't have to struggle', we're supposed to think it frightful, and that people should die peacefully at home without telling anyone. I've even heard some (so called liberal) people saying she should do the stories but not take the money!

What I would object to, of course, (and I think this is roughly the point Nick Jones was making last night) is if Jade was being manipulated and exploited by the papers for their gain, not hers. But she's got Max Clifford, ffs, who quite frankly is a genius.

So, this story throws into sharp relief the old question about the role of PR in journalism and whether there is any such thing as an 'ethical PR' practitioner. This is something my NUJ branch - Press and PR - hopes to pick up. When we call the public meeting to debate it, Jon, you can have the story.

Jon Slattery said...

Thanks Rich, It is interesting to have someone in PR praising Max so highly. I will certainly give your debate on ethics a mention.

Anonymous said...

Whether you like Max Clifford and the stories he generates or not, I think you have to recognise his talent for managing public relations.

Ann Brien said...

I am completely in awe of Jade's capacity to put everyone else's feelings above her own. Her only concern even at this advanced stage of her illness is for her boys and Jack. I find it very comforting to hear Max Clifford's updates on her condition and what wedding plans she is now working on because I sense he's speaking from the heart as a good friend, not just a media person delivering his lines.