If it bleeds it leads - this media maxim is as true now as it was 300 years ago. Crime is the staple of the news,and our appetite for these dark and dangerous tales shows no sign of abating. All of human emotion is here , hate, love, greed, desire and revenge. As relationships between the Police and the Press move further apart the public are now being questioned more scrupulously than before. We'll all be murdered in our beds! tells the compelling and sometimes scandalous stories told by the 'Hacks in Macs'.
- Duncan Campbell
I found this to be a great read; we start in the 1700's with hangings at Tyburn right through to space age reporting via the internet. The 22 chapters may be read consecutively or just as easily by dipping in and out. I must declare an interest here for I knew two of the chaps mentioned back in the day; although a lot is made of the prince of darkness, I think his nickname was bigger than him. But that's just me. Well back to the plot, three hundred years of reporters being hounded by their editors to get out there and find me a story; so during both Ripper murders it was the hacks who built up the story and some might say obstructed justice by inventing bits and pieces to fill in their copy. There is the legend that one Fleet St Crime reporter, one of the "Murder squad", woke in a friend's bath after a night on the tiles to see his copy made the early editions! Those days are long gone .
Campbell has presented up with a well written easy to read book full of references to sources should you feel inclined to move forward with this subject; and just to guide you through the wonderful world of media speak he supplies translations for common terms and phrases. A man is helping police with their inquiries: means A man is definitely NOT helping police with their inquiries. A victim or murder subject described as a person who kept themselves to themselves; means I couldn't fined bugger all about them: named Locally means the police are not saying but the people in the pub are talking .
I don't know if Duncan has reinforced any of our prejudges regarding the Crime reporters as to whether their work is just there to increase circulation or not, I will leave it up to you to decide. It is a smashing read so go get a copy ........you might be in it!.
Don't have nightmares, just change your Newspaper .