Thinking Anglicans

Jim Naughton on the British press

Jim Naughton wrote the Church Times press column last week. It is now available online at What I ‘learnt’ at Lambeth.

FOR AN American church flak like me, learning to work with the British news media has been similar to learning to drive on British roads. The enterprises are fundamentally similar, and yet one’s reflexes need reconditioning to avoid accidents.

As a former journalist, I was struck first by the difference in the ways that American and British journalists attribute (or don’t attribute) the information in their stories. The British press is freer in its use of anonymous sources than its American counterpart. One is constantly reading that a paper “has learnt” something. Well, how, exactly?

Perhaps this wink-and-nod approach makes a certain sense in the cosy world of the Anglican Communion, but it’s open to abuse. A friend of mine recently found her fondest hopes transformed into the hidden agenda of the Episcopal Church by a reporter who assumed that my friend had much more influence that she has…

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Kurt
Kurt
13 years ago

“Still, I scour the British papers with avidity, because, increasingly, they are the only ones that matter. Not a single serious US daily has sent its religion reporter to the Lambeth Conference.” JN

Well Jim, did you ever consider the possibility that serious American dayilies increasingly take the Lambeth Conference less seriously than they used to? I wonder why.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
13 years ago

There are the American journalistic conventions of “sources close to” and “unnamed sources who requested anonymity” which are employed with great regularity. I read the British and American press on a regular basis and I don’t see much difference.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

…and if God is just, *you* will receive a raise too, Jim. 😉 Keep on keepin’ on!

Jersey
Jersey
13 years ago

But the New York Times did send its war correspondent . . . ?

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