The Croydon Sadvertiser, it has to be said, has had a couple of good weeks editorially. With the Croydon riots, there was no need for stories involving photoshopped giraffes on page 3 (we did not make that up: they really did run that), because it did not take much in the way of editorial judgement to work out what stories to run in the paper.
But last week, the old, sad, Sadvertiser was at it again, out on the streets of riot-ravaged Croydon, staging a publicity stunt which cynically exploited the misery of the people of London Road in a craven attempt to a promote the sagging organ.
By conducting this stunt, the paper’s editor not only displayed a lack of judgement, but he also broke his word, while offering proof – if any more was really necessary – of quite how close, too close, the paper is with a certain section of local politicians.
At its bad-taste photocall, little more than a week after the riots, in front of the rubble and the ruins, the Sadvertiser rolled out its branded banner for the Mayor and various other local “worthies” to hold up.
This photo op on London Road was billed as a display of business solidarity with traders there. Yet with the exception of Max Mennon, of Allders, and a few passers by with their children, the only attendees were publicity-hungry politicians, many of whom were making a rare visit to this part of the borough.
These included Richard Ottaway, Croydon South’s absentee MP, not often seen this far north of Purley, and clearly anxious to be witnessed amidst the devastation. The weekend before, he had been snapped enjoying himself on a yacht at Cowes, telling the Mail on Sunday that he need not be with his constituents because the rioting had not happened in his area. Oddly, we were not able to find mention of Ottaway’s lapse of judgement in the Sadvertiser.
The Mayor, dear old thing, was dropped at Lidl, the meeting place that the newspaper had arranged. But when someone from the paper decided the picture would look much better with more ruins in the background, the Mayor was told he needed to walk all the way down to Sumner Road, his gold chain weighing him down, so that the Sadvertiser could get the burnt out buildings in the background. Nice touch, that.
Perhaps it’s a vote of confidence in policing in Croydon, that it’s now safe to sport a couple of pounds of Mayoral gold bling and stroll down the London Road?
Later, when people, including one of the local councillors, questioned the paper’s motives and criticised the poor taste of the stunt, seeing it as exploitative, an attempt to use Croydon people’s misfortunes to publicise the sorry rag, the Sadvertiser‘s editor was quick to perform what newspaper types refer to as a “reverse ferret”.
Although they had gone to a great deal of trouble to call the photoshoot, rolling out their much-used banner, when faced with some considered disquiet, Glenn Ebrey solemnly promised his Twitter followers that the ill-judged shot would not be used in his paper.
Ebrey Tweeted to Councillor Timothy Godfrey stating: “Hi Timothy. Thank you for coming & your kind words. The banner photo will not be used, rest assured!”
Later, Ebrey underlined his pledge not to use the banner picture, even admitting his misjudgement. “Thanks to all who attended #croydonad photocall yesterday. Apologies if we slightly misjudged the mood re: the banner. This won’t…
“…appear in Friday’s paper. In no way intended to be a publicity stunt, just wanted to show our support for the community“
Rest assured! Come publication last Friday, and the picture with the banner was duly published in the Sadvertiser.
The Croydon Sadvertiser: the paper you can trust… to exploit people’s misery, publish brothel ads and to cosy up to Richard Ottaway.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Glenn Ebrey considers this report to be a “personal attack”. Oh dear: if pointing out that he has lied to his newspaper’s readers is considered a personal attack, then so be it.
Ebrey must be particularly embarrassed by this post, since it highlights his Tweeted undertakings not to publish the picture – Tweets which he subsequently deleted from his Twitter feed, in a hamfisted effort to cover up his broken promises.
- Sadvertiser gives Inside Croydon a silly boost in traffic (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)
- Rioters “wanted to kill a police officer” claims Commander (insidecroydon.com)
- Ottaway raises more parliamentary questions over Hale (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)
- Croydon was vulnerable after being short-changed for decades (insidecroydon.com)
- Crisis? What Crisis? Ottaway’s getaway on his yacht (insidecroydon.com)