Friday, 24 May 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: The New Newsmakers

The barbaric murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich this week has shocked and appalled the public. The violence of the act was horrific in itself, but the brazen and boastful justification of the murderer is perhaps the most sickening part of all.

Far from being concerned about being caught, the suspected murderer – we have to call him “suspected” despite multiple eyewitness accounts – and his accomplice stood by their victim, waiting for police to arrive and the opportunity to cause more political damage. One of the attackers allegedly encouraged witnesses to take his photograph and to call the police, whose slow response time was somewhat staggering. These were people who wanted their cause to be heard and wanted the public to hear from them directly about their crime. In some ways, they played the media perfectly into their own hands.

The murderer was filmed on a mobile phone shortly after the attack, appearing holding a meat cleaver and covered in blood. He explained that the murder was in revenge for Muslims killed by British servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan and went on to talk about the fact that the British public will never be safe and future victims will be the “average guy”. It is likely he was aiming to incite hatred for Muslims within the British public, creating further conflict and violence in its wake. The video is now plastered all over the web and has been published by all the national news outlets, taking this directly destructive message to a much wider audience than those who actually witnessed the attack and aftermath.

Was the media right in publishing this video – wouldn’t it have been enough to publish a transcript without the graphic images? It is surely the image of the cleaver and the blood that is going to stir up emotion – and perhaps the desire for revenge – much more effectively than words alone. On the other hand, it might have been classed as censorship not to publish, and in any case we have to assume it would have made its way into the public eye through YouTube in any case.

So, with the average Joe becoming a newsmaker (as long as he has a mobile phone and internet connection) does the media have any responsibility not to pander to extremists? To avoid censorship issues, it could be argued there was really no option. Perhaps the decision on whether to publish should, in the end, have come down to old fashioned taste. As an industry professional, I would suggest that publishing that type of propaganda on respected news websites, is not in good taste at all.

We've been out and about this week at EcoConnect - De-mystifying EIS, VCTs, R&D Tax Credits for Green Businesses; the LSE Group RAG meeting in Leeds, Cambridge Life Science Networking and a special dinner hosted by Cavendish Corporate Finance/ Kleinwort Benson on 'Capital value from digital innovation'. Abchaps also benefitted from comprehensive LinkedIn training, along with CIPR time management.

It's been a busy week in the City with Brewin Dolphin's double appointment of Rob Burgeman and Peter Long as the new co-heads for London office. Baker Tilly appointed Sarah Lang as a forensic services division manager and Steve Railton as a managing partner. Grant Thornton hired ex Ernst & Young corporate tax specialist Alan Richardson; whilst Charles Stanely announced that Ben Money-Coutts has been appointed chief operating officer of its financial services division. Marriott Harrison also appointed Catherine McLoughlin as a partner in its corporate department.

'LION’ – LinkedIn open networker; rather than connecting only with people you know, as LinkedIn recommends, 'LION's actively connect with anybody and everybody. The concept is often criticised, but LIONs are nonetheless becoming increasingly common.

The London Canal Museum is now running summer tunnel boat trips down Regent’s Canal. The tours are running two Sundays a month until October.

Michelle Obama’s favourite American retailer J.Crew has a pop-up shop today and tomorrow in King’s Cross, ahead of opening their flagship UK store.

National Vegetarian Week starts on Monday and there are plenty of events to get involved with.

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