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MONBIOT DIVIDES SALFORD
 

Star date: 24th November 2009

COMMENT: Stephen Kingston

Salford Star editor, Stephen Kingston, responds to a column by a local newspaper editor who argued that the Guardian's George Monbiot was out of order when he wrote that the Salford Star was one of only two local publications in the country worth saving…

Full comment here…


A couple of weeks ago George Monbiot, top writer for the Guardian newspaper, wrote a column in which he basically said that all local newspapers were rubbish, and that there were only two worth saving in the country…

"I can think of only two local newspapers that consistently hold power to account: the West Highland Free Press and the Salford Star…"

The response was phenomenal but we didn't boast about it and didn't even put it on the website. Then, in this week's Salford Advertiser, editor Simon Keegan had a massive go back at both Monbiot and the Salford Star.

First he accuses Monbiot of `inaccuracies' and then comes up with a few of his own…like, "the blog the Salford Star which was funded by Salford Council…"

We're not a `blog' (since when did a blog have up to 100 volunteers helping out?) and never have been – we're an online magazine that wants to be in print but can't get funding because we haven't got the backing of a huge media monopoly monster called Guardian Media Group. And we have never, ever, been funded by Salford Council, never even had a penny in advertising from it (unlike the Advertiser).

What we did get, before we were in print with the first issue, was £1.5k off East Salford Community Committee – from funding devolved to the community by the Council for residents to spend on great local projects. Of course once we did get into print and applied again, the Council re-wrote its constitution for `devolved funding', back dated it six weeks and ripped up our application.

Writing that "this is not intended as a dig at the Salford Star" Simon Keegan then quotes a comment left on the Guardian's website by a so-called `journalist' that certainly has a dig and contains loads of inaccuracies…

Fortunately he didn't quote all of the crap that this guy wrote, only the bit that says we had "half a dozen issues (if that)…and has been online only for about the last two years" – nope, eight issues and been online for a year, incidentally, attracting almost 150,000 readers.

Yes, Monbiot wrote that the Salford Star was a `newspaper' which we never have been, but we get that all the time – nobody expects a `community' publication to be high quality, glossy and 100 pages thick.

Personally, I think that Simon Keegan is a bit peeved with Monbiot who… "praises the Salford Star but fails to mention the Salford Advertiser"…

Maybe he'd read the Salford Star article on the Salford Advertiser – the one about giving Hazel Blears her own column…the one about giving the police its own column next to a full page advert…

This comment isn't intended as a dig at the Salford Advertiser, they do what they do very well. But, to quote the Advertiser editor, "apples aren't oranges"…


PS. Would have written this response quicker but the Advertiser didn't get delivered again this week…

John Morrissey wrote
at 10:58:45 PM on Monday, November 30, 2009
I've been away from the Star for too long, look at all the great stuff I've missed. Well done to everyone at the Star.
 
Duncan Corns wrote
at 12:45:18 AM on Thursday, November 26, 2009
heh heh, enjoyed this piece... I too am still awaiting my Advertiser this week... or was it last week? It normally gets delivered around Sunday so I can read the promos for which events I've just missed. Maybe they should go online only as well?
 
suzi hoffmann wrote
at 11:28:09 PM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I was proud that Monbiot selected the SALFORD STAR as a quality newspaper. The STAR does what an independent paper should do - it treats Salford people with respect and dignity, giving them a voice. It challenges elected representatives or congratulates them when necessary. It protects the interests of its local community. It is rigorously researched and its also good fun. Lets get it back in print! Maybe George will send some dosh?
 
Mike Skeffington wrote
at 1:17:47 PM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I read with interest Simon Keegan's article in the Advertiser (once of Salford) and was surprised by his tone. To say that it was not a "dig at the Salford Star" is absurd, of course it was. I won't bother to restate all the other inaccuracies in his article, with only a couple of exceptions. Taking the council to task is a rarity in the Advertiser, the battle for St Georges was followed throughout by Salford Star and the Advetiser don't have to write council propaganda, they just give councillors and disgraced MPs their own columns to write their own. Why didn't the Advertiser back the, Hazel Must Go, campaign, that may have earned it some street cred. Hold your hands up Mr Keegan and admit that the Salford Star is the true voice of the people and has been since it started. I can also assure you that, as one of many contributors the magazine will continue.
 
salford freak wrote
at 9:10:00 AM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Hmm. I'm not sure I can agree with this article. I think the central tenet of your argument is a fair one. But I think someone needs to take the moral high ground here, and I think that it should be you, Steve, because of what your paper stands for. It doesn't matter who started this pathetic spat between the two outlets, it really doesn't matter. What matters is trying to find the stories that affect the people of this city. There are things that the Advertiser does very well, and there are things that the Star does very well. So maybe you should call a truce and think about the wider issues.
 
badman wrote
at 7:33:55 AM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Salford Advertiser is a poor exscuse for an newspaper with no real independent editorial and few generically sourced news stories. Many of its lead stories are in fact plagarised from Manchester Evening News writers with the bylines switched to the advertiser reporters.
 
ade wrote
at 7:33:30 AM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Very interesting points made by the star and George Monbiot, and very difficult for the advertiser to deny. I think they are stuck in the middle ground where they don’t have the power of the nationals and they have lost the integrity that the star retains. One item that struck a chord with me a while ago that sort of illustrates this was the front page headlines about a property developer who as part of their development would create a beach in salford. The beach was a freebie headline for the local newspapers to detract from some less palatable elements of the development. The local journos took it hook line and sinker and did not bother investigating the development – very lazy IMO. Salford star took this on a little while later and exposed the charade. Unfortunately it was too late to do anything about. The Stars curse is that I suspect it will always be under funded and its impact will be reduced as a result, it is blessed that largely because of this it will not compromise. Good luck star
 
David Henry wrote
at 7:32:24 AM on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I read that "collumn" in last week's advertiser and thought it was an appalling article. You expect to disagree with the opinions of a newspaper columnist but to come across so many factaual innaccuracies about some common local knowledge is unusual, if anything it shows just how out of touch Mr Keegan is with life in Salford. Perhaps his move to another city hasn't helped. Did Mr Keegan forget the name of his own paper? It's called the ADVERTISER. Salford City Council is one of it's biggest investors. If anything that's who hold a major influence over their agenda. There are some good people who write for them, I just hope genuine Salfordian's manage to reclaim local media from the Deansgate media mafia even if it means the Advertiser is no more.
 
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