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…