- Car trouble - 2nd June 2023
- Reading the riot act part two - 1st June 2023
- Reading the riot act part one - 31st May 2023
A fanfare in the mainstream media has greeted the planned launch of a fresh news outlet, but The Eye have shown that the Welshman behind it is a ‘comedian’ and failed media executive, who had made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse prominent politicians on social media, was placed under police investigation, tried to finish off this website, and been officially reprimanded.
None of these extraordinary details, however, were reflected in the reports about Huw Marshall’s new service, and only our journalists have reported the truth.
HoldtheFrontPage HTFP (which serves UK journalists) said for example: “The co-founder of two projects that were closed by a regional publisher has launched a fresh bid to set up a new news service independently – with the aim of creating at least seven journalism jobs in the process”.
As the piece alludes to, Mr Marshall founded The National Wales (TNW), which was initially a newspaper as well as a website, and the website Corgi Cymru (CC), with the London and US-based firm Newsquest, but both folded last year, with the former lasting only 18 months while the latter closed after just six months.
He was awarded a substantial taxpayers’ grant through the Welsh Government’s (WG’s) Books Council of Wales (BCW), however many have questioned this funding given the background of the man involved.
In 2010 two people died and a police officer lost his eye-sight when rampaging gunman Raoul Moat shot them, yet Mr Marshall published a ‘funny’ message on his Facebook (FB) site, reading: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some fun. My Mr Right should be a big strong ginger man with a fiery temper and a jealous nature, who also enjoys camping and writing long letters. Another post read: “Moat reward… if he isn’t caught by next Wednesday, the rewards (sic) being doubled. It’s going to be a Raul (sic) over”.
Following many other offensive comments, Mr Marshall was told off by Twitter because an account “violated the Twitter Rules”, and a further one of his, “Welsh Bollocks”, had also broken their regulations.
Meanwhile the abuse from him of senior politicians, came almost 10 years ago, with one of his remarks hurled at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates, while another was directed at the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black. After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC) in Ruabon, Mr Marshall (who has himself stood for PC) referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”, and he described Mr Black as a “humourless (sic) t..t”, as well as a “dull, tedious t..t”.
Apart from these sorts of remarks and the Twitter admonishment, it is thought that Mr Marshall may also have been responsible for sending unwanted takeaways to people’s homes, as well as other misdeeds.
In response to a police inquiry into his actions, Mr Marshall said on Twitter that he had told South Wales Police (SWP) he intended to make a complaint, however officers answered by informing him that they had a “responsibility to investigate any reports”.
Following The Eye bringing this out, along with many of Mr Marshall’s other previous controversies, he attempted to have us closed down, alleging “violent threats and harassment”, when there have been no threats of violence from our journalists, and the only harassment has come from him after he used social media to dub senior Welsh politicians “t**ts”, and our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, a “liar”.
But intriguing, high-profile characters backed another of Mr Marshall’s unsuccessful ventures which was referred to by HTFP (The National Wales [TNW]), even while the ‘stories’ in it were described by Private Eye (PE) as being “cut and pasted from other news organisations”. Questions have been raised after similar articles in many other publications, and they have been highlighted, too, by The Eye.
He has, for instance, published an article about a doctor learning Welsh, which bore a striking resemblance to an item on the website of a centre which teaches the language to adults, Nant Gwrtheyrn.
Mr Marshall headlined ‘his’ story: “Aldey Hey Choldren’s Hospital doctor on learning Welsh” when it is in fact AldeR Hey and, of course, CHILDREN’S (correct spelling is critical, also, for aspiring journalists). The item began: “Dr Jonathan Hurst is a doctor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He’s been learning Welsh for the last two years. etc. The Nant Gwrtheyrn article opened with: “Dr Jonathan Hurst is a doctor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He’s been learning Welsh for the last two years.” etc.
Even before the unveiling of TNW, it was clear there was unease among potential supporters.
One announced on Twitter “for me it’s important to be owned and run in Wales”. Another declared: “He’s (Mr Marshall) been saying for a while that there is a “Partner” on board……I assumed that it was a local, welsh business……but it does indeed look like it is News quest! !”. A further critic said on Twitter: “Why are we having to use a London based company?”. A different detractor stated: “Gotta be honest, a London-headquarterd media outlet is not at all what I thought I was supporting, purported editorial freedom or nay. I have some reasonably major reservations”.
The headline-grabbing Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) member for Blaenau Gwent, and former Welsh Government (WG) minister, Alun Davies, MS, proclaimed on Twitter before the launch of TNW “Well. I wish you best of luck with this initiative. Anything to strengthen our news environment should receive a warm welcome”.
A ‘warm welcome’ was given, as well, to the ‘pilot’ for it which was also wished “Best of luck” by WG minister Lee Waters, although he seemed to have changed his tune when he actually read it. Mr Waters (a former producer on the BBC Cymru Wales [BBC CW] radio programme Good Morning Wales [GMW]) stated on FB: “Well I’ve just bought a copy and think its pretty dull”.
Another reader of the paper’s first edition (who is a prominent journalist too) said: “It (TNW) starts with worthy statements about how we deserve better fearless, independent and unintimidated media in Wales and should be happy to pay for it then gives us a timid, third rate product filled mainly with political comment from compromised sources who wouldn’t know a truth if it whacked them over the head with a cricket bat.”
Clearly Mr Marshall has support, despite the fact that he has been investigated by the police, insulted senior Welsh politicians, and tried to silence another independent website. The senior Welsh journalist Tim Hartley tweeted: “Quite properly shamed into subscribing. Good luck with the campaign Huw and the crew”. Mr Hartley is also a strong football fan (like Mr Marshall), and even recorded a song (with others), supporting the Wales team at the World Cup in Qatar, despite the fact that being gay is unlawful in the country.
Perhaps Mr Hartley was impressed by Mr Marshall’s grand statements about the media in Wales. His grandiloquent comments have included ones such as: “A free and independent media is the lifeblood of any democracy…”.
It appears, though, that inquiries by ‘free and independent’ The Eye (unsupported by the taxpayer unlike Mr Marshall’s), are unwelcome to him as he approached a specialist internet company in his fruitless attempt to shut us down.
Evidently Mr Marshall (who is apparently seen as part of the Welsh-speaking establishment) does not know his journalist libel law either (which may, possibly, have contributed to the winding-up of his TNW), because he has said on Twitter that Phil is a ‘liar’ and an “obsessive coward”, linking the inaccurate comments to an earlier piece that had been written about the scheme. Mr Marshall has also called Phil a “self proclaimed journalist”, which may not be libellous but is provably wrong as he trained to be a journalist in 1983 on the best newspaper course in the UK before moving into television, and he has won an enormous number of awards.
Mr Marshall has said, as well, that he has a number of different Twitter accounts, but stesses he reserves one for items which may bother Phil, declaring: “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”, which was the account which “violated the Twitter rules”.
HTFP has also published how he previously ran “Welsh language service Corgi.Cymru”, yet Corgi.Cymru (CC) too has a colourful past.
The huge organisation Newsquest Media Group (NMG) (which was also mentioned in the HTFP report) confirmed the closure of CC after just five months in business, saying the project was not “economically sustainable”. The termination of the service came just two months after the shutdown of TNW, but it had only started on St David’s Day 2021.
As the Western Mail (WM) reported about CC’s demise: “There are calls for a review of how £100,000 of public money was given to support the launch of a Welsh language news service that is to close five months later”.
The public grant was made through the BCW, and was one of two grants from them to fund Welsh language digital news services. The other was given to the established operator Golwg360, with each site due to receive £100,000 a year until 2026.
But it seems that despite this unfortunate background, Mr Marshall remains upbeat.
Speaking to HTFP, Mr Marshall declared: “We want to build a service that people value and see the benefits beyond receiving Welsh public interest journalism for themselves, by having a mix of members who will have a say in the running of the company, subscribers and commercial partners offer a sustainable for future for news”.
It was claimed the new service was to be run by a team of seven full-time journalists, supported by six technical, sales and administrative staff. Yet Mr Marshall’s record on job creation for journalists has not been a good one. For one of his ventures he said 20 posts would be secured, but this figure stood in stark contrast to what was then offered in his advert for “Digital reporters (x2), audience and content editor (x1)”.
The final number of jobs may never materialise when the man behind a new media outlet is actually a ‘comedian’ and failed media ‘executive’, who had made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse prominent politicians on social media, was placed under police investigation, tried to finish off this website, and been officially reprimanded…
Phil’s memories of his remarkable decades long award-winning career in journalism (before the advent of TNW) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!
Publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.
Tomorrow – how during 23 years with the BBC, and 39 years as a journalist (when he was trained to use clear and simple language, avoiding jargon), keeping within the law, as well as neutrality, have always been central for our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, and now these issues have been emphasised by news that a partisan right-wing TV host has left amid reports that a multi-milllion pound legal claim was settled.