The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

That's a very complex question to answer. As I've said before, the Sun talked us into doing a campaign with them to raise money particularly so that we could put funds into cot death research, and when we did agree to do that, we did a fantastic job, I think. I think this was a brilliant example of tabloid popular journalism at its very best. The Sun was a very large circulation tabloid newspaper at the time, and we were able to use it as a force for good. We did a series of articles with them all about cot death, about the research that was going on up and down the land, and we were able to raise such a wealth of public opinion, and they literally backed it up with their money, that we raised £100,000 within just a few weeks and that was immediately put into cot death research. That was an example of top tabloid journalism at its very best. It's what they were very, very good at and what I remember the News of the World being particularly good at in its heyday, were doing some popular campaigns that could really make a difference.

When I was a young journalist training on the Bridgwater Mercury in the late 1970s, I remember being motivated into journalism by things like the Sunday Times Insight team and their reportage on the thalidomide campaign they did, and I remember thinking that you could make a difference if you went into journalism, and that's an example of journalism at its very best, and I was able to do that again -- in fact, because it's the 20th anniversary of my little boy's death this year, I went back and revisited that campaign, if you like, with the Sun, and we did another couple of articles about it this year, being able to highlight some of the new problems that are facing cot death researchers. I was able to do that in the Daily Mail as well, and that's what I'm saying, is that the tabloid and the popular press -- the popular press is nothing to be ashamed of in this country; it can be a terrific force for good, and the problem I think that befuddles people and bewilders me and lots of other journalists is we've allowed values of some, just a handful, to besmirch the reputations of all of us.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech