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‘This story must be original…’

Here our Editor Phil Parry re-emphasises the importance in journalism of providing original material, when a controversial ‘comedian’ who made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse prominent politicians on Twitter, and was placed under police investigation, declared he will provide a ‘national’ news service for Wales but it has been revealed it is to be done with just two reporters.

Earlier he has described how he was helped to break into the South Wales Echo office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and making clear that the ‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.

Phil on BBC Cymru Wales Today in 1988 – speak and be quick about it!

He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Cymru Wales TV Current Affairs series he presented for 10 years, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off

Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of ‘history’ is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.

Investigative journalism is critical – and it’s always original!

He has also disclosed why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, and how information from trusted sources is crucial at this time of crisis.

 

I stress once more that for all self-respecting journalists it is vital stories should be original and not copied.

But it appears this golden rule is being flouted by the man who proclaims he wants to set up a ‘national news service’ for Wales, yet has a background which might make a story in itself.

For Huw Marshall it was funny to make ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman

The ‘service’ is to be run by contentious ‘comedian’ Huw Marshall who ‘joked’ about a gunman who had murdered people, used appalling language to abuse prominent politicians on social media, was severely reprimanded by Twitter, and been placed under police investigation.

His exploits have even made it into the UK media with a report in the latest Private Eye. 

Mr Marshall’s ‘project’ is called New Media Wales but the controversial pilot for it (which was wished “Best of luck” by Welsh Government [WG] minister Lee Waters MS) has been dubbed The News Wales (TNW).

Earlier this week he published on TNW 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.

AldeR Hey is a children’s hospital…

He 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, too, is paramount for journalists).

The piece 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.

…Nant Gwrtheyrn isn’t

“Jonathan, who is originally from Stockport now lives on the Wirral. As a child, he was captivated by the beauty of the Welsh language, traveling to north Wales to take part in various athletic competitions.” etc.

The Nant Gwrtheyrn item 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.

Grown up journalism does not involve copying

“Jonathan, who is originally from Stockport now lives on the Wirral. As a child, he was captivated by the beauty of the Welsh language, traveling to north Wales to take part in various athletic competitions.” etc.

The endings too are completely identical.

Yet this is not the first time Mr Marshall has made news when so-called ‘stories’ have appeared in other publications.

This was an article in The Leader based in North WalesNORTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is standing down.

Huw Marshall does not walk past The Leader without using its stories

“Mr Jones, the region’s second ever police and crime commissioner, has announced he will be retiring at the next election whenever it is held.” etc.

This was the article in TNW which followed it: “NORTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is standing down.

Arfon Jones – a Plaid Cymru ticket which was different

“Mr Jones, the region’s second ever police and crime commissioner, has announced he will be retiring at the next election whenever it is held.” etc.

In fact the two items are exactly the same throughout, yet TNW underneath theirs says: Posted in Welsh News.

Sometimes the changes are minor, such as when Wrexham becomes Wrecsam.

Wrexham (or Wrecsam) Maelor Hospital was under ‘immense pressure’ – twice…

This, once more, was The Leader“WREXHAM Maelor Hospital is under “immense pressure” amid rising coronavirus cases, a doctor has warned.  Dr Steve Stanaway, medical director at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, says his teams are dealing with “huge numbers” of cases – which have grown by 86 per cent since Christmas. Speaking to ITV Wales News, Dr Stanaway said the hospital is currently dealing with 108 cases, 11 of which are patients in critical care …” etc.

This was Mr Marshall’s TNW: “Wrecsam Maelor Hospital is under “immense pressure” amid rising coronavirus cases, a doctor has warnedDr Steve Stanaway, medical director at Wrecsam Maelor Hospital, says his teams are dealing with “huge numbers” of cases – which have grown by 86 per cent since Christmas. Speaking to ITV Wales News, Dr Stanaway said the hospital is currently dealing with 108 cases, 11 of which are patients in critical care…” etc

Evidently I have become something of a thorn in Mr Marshall’s side, because he says he has a number of different Twitter accounts, but claims he reserves one for stories which may bother me, saying “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”.

Yet his so-called ‘stories’ on NMW or TNW from The Leader or the Nant Gwrtheyrn website are not the only examples.

This was the piece in The Powys County Times from the Press Association (PA):A former Welsh Conservative Party leader has been criticised for equating protesters at the US Capitol to those who supported a second referendum on Brexit.

“Andrew RT Davies, now the Welsh Conservatives health spokesman, responded to a tweet by Sir Keir Starmer, in which the Labour leader described the “horrendous scenes” in Washington DC as “a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people”. etc.

Andrew RT Davies said the same thing

This was the piece in TNW: “A former leader of the Welsh Conservative Party has been criticised for equating protesters at the US Capitol to those who supported a second referendum on Brexit.

“Andrew RT Davies, now the Welsh Conservatives health spokesman, responded to a tweet by Sir Keir Starmer, in which the Labour leader described the “horrendous scenes” in Washington DC as “a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people”. etc.

Of course it cannot be PROVED all these pieces are connected, it might just be complete coincidence, or they may just be being ‘shared’, but the timing seems suspicious. There has also been huge controversy on social media that Mr Marshall is seen as a frontman for the Newsquest Media Group (NMG) – with both The Leader and Powys County Times in the group.

NMG is the UK arm of the giant controversial American corporation Gannett Inc. (which has made many of his supporters uneasy) and its behaviour has been highlighted by the journalists union NUJ.

It is a fundamental tenet of news journalism, as well, to be entirely neutral, yet this may be difficult for Mr Marshall as he has stood for a political party in the past.

In 1992 Mr Marshall was Plaid Cymru’s (PC’s) Parliamentary candidate in Cardiff Central, coming fourth with just 748 votes, however his plans to stand for election as a councillor were scuppered when it emerged that he had posted so-called ‘jokes’ about a rampaging gunman, and published offensive remarks to politicians on social media.

Two people died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes when gunman Raoul Moat shot them, yet despite this on July 8, 2010 – with him trying to escape from armed police – Mr Marshall published a 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. 

“If this sounds like you contact me at armedresponse@northumberlandpolice.org.uk.”

Armed police surround Raoul Moat – but Huw Marshall made a ‘joke’ about the incident

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”.

In 2013, it was disclosed that Mr Marshall had made abusive remarks using bad language, to senior politicians, on Twitter, and complaints after further comments led to a reprimand by the social media company.

One insult eight years ago, was directed at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates with another hurled at the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black.

After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over Plaid Cymru (PC) in Ruabon, Mr Marshall referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”. Mr Marshall also described Mr Black as a “humourless t..t”and a “dull, tedious t..t”.

Some jobs are just not right!

Yet it appears Mr Marshall’s TNW or NMW may not be alone. This, again, is The Leader“Figures show that of the 5,425 full-tme Welsh Government jobs, zero are based in Flintshire – Wales’ sixth largest council.

“Meanwhile, the devolved administration employs one staff member based in Dubai, one in Paris, one in Tokyo and two people in Washington.

Copying things does not always work well

“Across the six North Wales counties, fewer than ten per cent of Welsh Government jobs are based in the region”, etc.,

This was the nationalist website Nation.Cymru (NC) Edited by the controversial ‘journalist’ teacher at Bangor University (BU) Ifan Morgan Jones (which is supported by the taxpayer through the Books Council of Wales [BCW]): “Figures show that of the 5,425 full-time Welsh Government jobs, zero are based in Flintshire – Wales’ sixth largest council.

Copying can get you into trouble…

“Meanwhile, the devolved administration employs one staff member based in Dubai, one in Paris, one in Tokyo and two people in Washington.

“Across the six North Wales counties, fewer than ten per cent of Welsh Government jobs are based in the region”, etc.

But I know only too well after many years in journalism, that having original stories is crucial.

Book posterEspecially if you’re launching a ‘national’ news service in Wales… 

 

Tomorrow – a controversial MP accused of spreading “dangerous misinformation” about coronavirus/Covid-19, is given an uncritical ‘interview’ by a conspiracy theorist on her Welsh ‘media channel’.

Phil’s memories of his astonishing decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when providing original stories was all-important) 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!