Whittingdale and the ex-dominatrix: conspiracy of silence or good press behaviour?

This is the original version of an article that appeared in Newsweek on 13.4.16.

The John Whittingdale ‘dominatrix’ story is a classic case study of the eternal balancing act between the right to privacy and the public interest in disclosure. In practice this is rarely a purely ethical or editorial decision. Inevitably, legal, political and taste issues will come into […]


George Entwistle is gone but how to rebuild confidence in the BBC?

The fact that George Entwistle has resigned is good news for the BBC – although a personally devastating decision for one honourable individual.* The real problem at the BBC right now is not trust, it’s confidence. In the long-term trust in the BBC will resume its normally high levels and it deserves that. There is much excellent output from the […]

November 10th, 2012|Journalism|3 Comments|

Why does Britain have such a popular, political and aggressive tabloid press?

During the phonehacking scandal I have been doing a lot of international media interviews. That’s because the LSE is a very global brand and, well, I do run an international media think-tank. One question that keeps being repeated in various delightful accents goes along the lines of “Why do you English have such a horrible down-market tabloid media that hacks […]


Scandal! An 18th century drama of micro-blogging and super injunctions

Is there nothing that can stop the spread of scandal in the digital age? Whether false or true, gossip has always been a fact of human social life in all its destructive and revelatory forms. The supposed hey-dey of Habermas’ public sphere  was in the coffee shops of Georgian London. But if we believe the great dramatist of that age, […]

May 21st, 2011|Journalism|0 Comments|