“A necessary outbreak of journalistic self-loathing”

Journalism may be the fourth estate and have a function in a proper democratic society but I don’t think I’m sharing any secrets when I say that there is nothing democratic about the way a newsroom, or a newspaper, works. The editor is always right, even when you suspect he’s actually wrong. This is because he can fire you – and may well if you whinge in such a way that it gets back to him. It’s like most other jobs, but more so.

So newspapers are an industry full of people who joined it because they were interested in questioning authority, but who have found that in order to be able to do so in the wider world they have to learn to keep a lid on it in the office.

Emma Hartley, in one of the best responses to the phone hacking scandal I’ve yet read.

The phone that’s just a phone. Even when it’s not

Alan has good taste in phones. This Nokia [6700 Classic] not only looks great, but has superb functions, including a five-megapixel camera with auto-focus and LED flash.

There’s also fast web browsing, video recording, a memory which is expandable to 8GB, five-hour talktime and three-day standby on one charge. One tester even claims it plays music non-stop for 12 hours at a reasonable volume.

So we’ve made it our Number One Phone For People Who Just Want a Phone.

The emphasis is mine. The idiocy of listing all the non-phone features of a phone that’s “just” a phone? That’s all the News of the World’s.

The feature looks at 10 non-iPhone mobiles, on the basis that a (probably fictional) “Alan” can’t work out how to use the iPhone (“Where’s the touchpad? How can you call people?”). He also wants an unlocked phone, so that he can use any SIM card in it. So he’ll hate whoever compiled the article, as all the prices quoted are for phones locked to networks either on contract or pay-as-you-go deals.

Unfortunately the article’s not online, so I can’t link to it. It took me a while to work out that it wasn’t, though: at the top of their gadgets page, oh-so-amusingly names GADGiTS, it cites a blog link of notw.co.uk/gadgits, which leads to a ‘Page not found’ error page.

Hardly a way to incite confidence in the paper’s coverage of IT-based topics, one would think.