Paper thin

0
107
The Eye
Follow Us!
Latest posts by The Eye (see all)
It was inevitable

Inevitable news that the website of a Welsh nationalist media outlet is to close only a year and a half after its launch, underlines how The Eye predicted its expiry from the beginning.

First the print version of The National Wales (TNW) was axed, although it had only started on Saint David’s Day (March 1) LAST YEAR, and now it is to shut altogether.

The writing had long been on the wall for TNW, as we had shown how it was proclaimed that the man described by its ‘Editor’ (Gavin Thompson, of the Newsquest Media Group [NMG]), as the “driving force” behind it (Huw Marshall) was a ‘comedian’ who had made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse prominent Welsh politicians on social media, was placed under police investigation, and had been officially reprimanded.

In ‘explaining’ the shutdown, Mr Thompson wrote on the defunct website: “I am writing today to share the sad news that The National Wales is closing. We are so grateful for your support since the title launched 18 months  ago”.

It has been accused of being a disgrace to journalism

NMG is owned by the giant American mass media holding company Gannett, and the closure of TNW has come at a difficult time for it, with journalists being laid off after a dismal earnings report.

One former staff member observed publicly on the internet: “Gannett is a disgrace to the journalism business. If they had management people who knew what they were doing, they wouldn’t have to lay people off. I used to work for the Beaver County Times (PA) and retired just as Gannett was turning what used to be a good solid newspaper into a rag”.

In a blog post about the scrapping of TNW (using what many may feel is largely incomprehensible language), Mr Marshall wrote: “The future isn’t digital, digital is the now.  Developing sustainable business models in the digital space has become challenging in recent times and The National Wales, unfortunately, wasn’t immune to market forces… My role was to establish a national news service for Wales that provided quality content that benefitted Welsh civic society as a whole.”.

Yet, it appears, even with TNW’s body still fresh in its grave, he is planning a new scheme.

Mr Marshall wrote on Twitter (our Editor Phil Parry has been blocked, so contacts send his posts): “I’m sure some will try and make capital from the demise of the @nationalwales this week.  I will be taking the lessons learnt and creating something positive for Wales… Watch this space.”. 

But it seems that he is already “creating something positive for Wales”, because Mr Marshall has stressed how hard he is now working, and tweeted a picture of a man in a bed.

Mr Marshall wrote above the photograph: “I’m in bed at 8pm (laughing emoji) Been putting in the hours over the last 3 days. The real work starts Thursday, the 1st of August”.

However, even before the end of TNW, it had become apparent that it was always likely to be undermined when the media focused on the disturbing past of its “driving force”.

Two people had died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes when rampaging 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. 

Armed police surrounded 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 emerged that Mr Marshall had made extremely offensive remarks to senior politicians on Twitter, and complaints after further comments led to reprimands on Twitter.

A stern telling off was administered to Huw Marshall

Mr Marshall was told off by the social media firm because an account  “violated the Twitter Rules”, and a further one, “Welsh Bollocks”, had also broken their regulations.

The rebukes followed constant abusive behaviour, with the earlier insults to prominent political figures in Wales, coming nine years ago. One was directed at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates, while another was 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”, 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 be responsible for sending unwanted takeaways to people’s homes.

In responding to the police inquiry into his activities, 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”.

What Huw Marshall has done made Phil very angry

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 Phil a “liar”.

However interesting, high-profile characters endorsed Mr Marshall’s failed venture, even while there were accusations that ‘stories’ were lifted from other publications.

Alun Davies, MS, wished ‘best of luck’ to The National Wales, but the website for it closed after only 18 months

The headline-grabbing Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) member for Blaenau Gwent, and former Welsh Government (WG) minister, Alun Davies, MS, declared on Twitter about it before the launch “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 TNW which was also wished “Best of luck” by Welsh Government (WG) minister Lee Waters, although he seemed to have changed his tune when he actually read it.

Lee Waters, MS, had wished The National Wales ‘best of luck’, but after reading it thought it was ‘dull’

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 also a prominent journalist) 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.

Grown up journalism does not involve copying

“The dreadful headlines persist throughout (try “Uncertainty follows end of overseas study scheme” for size! If I ever wrote that headline I think I would have decapitated myself immediately)…”

Mr Marshall’s own ‘New Media Wales (NMW)’ on the internet, or the ‘pilot’, have also made headlines other than in TNW, with the ‘stories’ being described in Private Eye (PE) as “cut and pasted from other news organisations”, and they have been highlighted, as well, by The Eye. He has 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.

He still expounds his views on podcasts, despite being investigated by the police, accused of plagiarism, and founding a failed media outlet

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

Arfon Jones stood down twice!

This was an article in The Leader based in North WalesNORTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is standing down.”etc. This was his article which followed it: “NORTH Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is standing down.” etc.

In fact the two pieces are exactly the same throughout, but underneath Mr Marshall’s, he says: Posted in Welsh News.

Yet he seems unperturbed by the finishing of TNW, and has written: “We have a plan to launch a National Sound and Vision platform… Diolch Huw Marshall”. As well as: “This week after 18 months of providing Wales and the wider world with original quality news coverage The National Wales will cease publication. A victim of the deepening economic crisis that has seen subscriptions in digital services decline and advertising revenues fall“.

Clearly Mr Marshall has support, despite the fact that he has been investigated by the police and insulted senior Welsh politicians.

The journalist Tim Hartley tweeted: “Quite properly shamed into subscribing.  Good luck with the campaign Huw and the crew”. Other onlookers, however, were highly-critical.

One of them, David Owens a features writer with special interest in the arts, wrote on Twitter: “Do you know what I find amusing, truly laughable. A certain person who bangs on about the need for media plurality in Wales, yet can’t stop slating the honest efforts of others trying to make a difference.  They’d be better off taking ownership of their continued failures”.

The comment was aimed at statements such as this grand one from Mr Marshall: “A free and independent media is the lifeblood of any democracy…”.

It appears, though, that inquiries by ‘free and independent’ The Eye are unwelcome to him, as moves have been made to shut us down, with an approach made to a specialist internet company.

Meanwhile his supposed ‘stories’ that were initially in The Leader or on the Nant Gwrtheyrn website are not the only dubious 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.”. etc. This was the item 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.”. etc.

Phil was an ‘obsessive coward’, and ‘self proclaimed’ journalist according to Huw Marshall

Evidently Mr Marshall does not know his journalist libel law either (which may, perhaps, have contributed to the winding-up of TNW), because he has said on Twitter that Phil is a ‘liar’ and an “obsessive coward”, linking the inaccurate comments to an earlier piece he had 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 has won an enormous number of awards.

Mr Marshall has declared, too, that he has a number of different Twitter accounts, but says he reserves one for items which may bother Phil, declaring: “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”.

Apparently emphasising this, he has been accused online, as well, of being a ‘bully’.

Even before the unveiling of TNW last year, 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”.

These ‘major reservations’ may have been confirmed by the closure of a Welsh nationalist website just 18 months after its launch, underlining how we had predicted its demise from the start…

 

It was an open and shut case for Huw Marshall’s The National Wales!

Details of Phil’s astonishing award-winning journalistic career (including revealing facts that others would rather keep hidden), as he was gripped by the rare neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – The Eye reveal disturbing details behind the court issues involving a former Welsh rugby international who is STILL allowed to present for BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) despite being at the centre of a legal storm, and not telling his partner he was HIV positive because he ‘wasn’t asked’.