Media Training: Our Take...

Newspapers, corrections, and the tricks of the trade

1st August 2018

As current journalists, we here at Middle Table are regularly asked about the 'tricks of the trade' in the newspaper world. And every so often you can see how good journalists are at keeping their own publications out of the news when they need to.

To the examples in a moment - first, a very quick explainer:

The Independent Press Standards Organisation have a set of rules agreed by newspaper editors. One of them says this:

“A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published.”

So when the Daily Mirror ran a front page story that IPSO decided had inaccurately paraphrased the then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, it ordered a full apology somewhere in the paper’s first five pages and, crucially, a front page reference in the same font size as the original sub-headline of the splash. 

So here is the original story:

And here is the apology: (I’ll give you a moment to find it)


Spot it? Here it is zoomed in:

The font is indeed the same size as the original sub-headline and, yes, it’s on the front page. It’s probably a coincidence that almost everything else on the front page is designed to distract you from seeing it: the Meghan headline, the rather large Meghan picture, the bright red advert at the bottom of the page. Journalists using their best tricks to avoid a negative story about themselves.

To be fair to the Daily Mirror, they’re not alone. Here’s a recent Daily Mail apology (cast your eyes to the bottom of the front page):

It makes you realise how much thought goes into where a story is placed. Especially when the newspaper is the story.

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