Why so little coverage of new Press Complaints Commission chair?

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A new chair of the Press Complaints Commission was announced on Friday. I say announced, though perhaps whispered would be a better description.

The Financial Times reported the news that Baroness Buscombe is to take over after Sir Christopher Meyer steps down at 17.03 on Friday. The Media Guardian followed this up with a piece at 18.35 – about half an hour after most people have turned off their PC’s and have headed off to enjoy their weekend.

The following morning the Press Complaints Commission added the news to its website (though the press release is dated 14th November). The FT ran another hundred words on Saturday. The Times buried it in the Business section’s ‘Need to Know‘. There was no mention of it in today’s media sections and, most curiously of all, the PCC did not even notify the people on its mailing list (including me).

Why such limited coverage? Baroness Buscombe will be the first woman to run the industry body, and will take over from the controversial Meyer after two full terms in office. She will have responsibility for press self-regulation at a time when it is very unclear about its future, and under threat from State regulation (via the internet), legal precedent (particularly with regards privacy law), and the economic crisis in the news industry. Even Sir Christopher Meyer said last week that the PCC may not survive if the industry chooses to go ahead with ‘swingeing budget cuts‘.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know more about her, about how and why she was chosen, and about the issues she will face when she takes up her new position?

Instead, the most detail provided by the press comes from Media Monkey, which tells us:
‘She is a Tory peer, and has been a frontbench spokeswoman in the Lords, which some may find little surprising (her most-admired politician is Oliver Letwin); favourite TV is Scrubs; her hidden talent is being “a bit of an actress”; her desert island objects, also according to Campaign magazine’s helpful guide, the A-List, are “Green & Blacks chocolate, an iPod and Mitsouko by Guerlain”; and the blue baroness reckons Meryl Streep should play her in the film of her life’

Written by Martin Moore

November 17th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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