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Daily Star editor's 'lying' mantra.... and subbing at the speed of light

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Tagged: / Posted: 22 June 2009

What a fantastic book Nick Davies has written. A missile strike at the heart of dodgy journalism. A really important book. It's brought to mind several examples of poor journalism standards to mind, not least the mantra that the editor of the Daily Star, Dawn Neesom, utters. Or at least, she did when I worked for the paper. In conference, one of her favourite sayings was: "Don't lie to me, lie to the readers." She'd say this quite frequently, and without any shame. Just astonishing. She usually said this if one of the team tried to embellish a story they were working on to make it look better than it actually was in a bid to impress her. Shocking. Or, given that it's the Daily Star, maybe not so shocking... And on the subject of journalists just not having any time to check things, well, I've done work in the past for a newspaper website as a sub editor and the amount of stories I have to rattle through and publish is remarkable. It's normally around 35 in three hours in the morning - so very little time at all to check for spelling errors and factual mistakes, let alone legal issues. And having two or three stories unpublished at any one time and waiting to be subbed is regarded as a 'backlog' by the managment! I have a lot of respect for the staff on the paper and website but they're caged, like everyone else, by being hugely understaffed.

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