The Wrong Headline

There was a story in the online version of the Western Mail this morning which was carried under the headline:

Welsh primary school pupils outperforming English counterparts

But when I looked again an hour or so later I couldn't help but notice that the headline had been changed—even though the story was exactly the same—to:

Welsh pupils fall behind English counterparts after primary school

That's more like it. The number one rule of journalism is that you must never let junior staff write headlines that show Wales in a good light.

We should be grateful that the more senior editors at what they like to call our national newspaper have a better sense of perspective about how bad Wales is.

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Unknown said...

I think the big story here is how poor the 'National Newspaper of Wales' - or Trinity Mirror Welsh frontier outpost as it is probably known within the group - at reflecting the actual reality of Wales and Welsh sentiment.

It really is lazy and thoughtless journalism to suggest that because our current primary school children are doing better than their secondary school equivalents, that they are doomed to fall back once they get into big school. Perhaps things are actually getting better?

The western mail is a disgrace as the 'national newspaper of Wales'. Wales deserves better analyisis and a more positive, though not uncritical, take on stories.

their forum has become a hotbed of anti-Welsh ranting by people who are allowed to repeatedly tell lies about Wales and the language, and to ascribe totally fictional policies to plaid, such as the gassing of non-Welsh speakers, ethnic cleansing as a result of the language policy, and many others. People who express broadly supportive views about thing Wlesh (and I don't mean just nationalists) are bullied into leaving, or goaded into responding in ways that the WM feels are enough to ban them, while allowing the anti-Welsh to break every rule in the book un-challenged.

We need a good strong national newspaper in Wales, with a vibrant web presence, but at the moment, we do not have one. the WM is losing circulation, perhaps that is a way we could exert pressure on Trinity Mirror to make the WM more Welsh sensitive.

MH said...

I think you're taking the Western Mail too seriously. Don't get angry at it or expect it to change. Laugh at it.


Now of course we need Welsh media, but Trinity Mirror are definitely not the right people to provide it. To see why, look at their website. It says it has five national newspapers and over 160 regional newspapers. If you click Nationals, you will see that the five are the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People ... together with the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, which are Scottish papers. So Wales doesn't rate as a nation, but Scotland does.

They only try to kid us in Wales that the Western Mail is our national newspaper. They know that no-one else would fall for it, so they don't try the same trick outside Wales.

Unknown said...

This is getting ridiculous. Even positive stories must be put with a negative headline. Time to stop worrying about the neighbours and concentrate on our own affairs. Well done to MH for noticing the change of headline though- it's the headline change that's the story here.

Anonymous said...

"There is a tendency in the Welsh media to pick the negative headline from a story so that it seems Wales and all things Welsh are inferior."

Never heard the saying "Bad news sells newspapers"?

Nothing sinister or anti-Welsh going on here. Just the media doing what the media does all over the world.

MH said...

A perfect example of a straw man argument, Anon. "Quote" something that hasn't been said in this thread and refute it rather than what has been said.

The Western Mail may well believe that bad news sells papers. But I'd have thought that their declining circulation might make even them think twice about whether it's true.

Unknown said...

"Never heard the saying "Bad news sells newspapers"?"

It obviously doesn't, for the Western Mail. It might be that a deeper issue of mindset or as MH suggests, ownership, is at work.

Anonymous said...

Amid all obvious shortcomings of the western mail and its hollow claims to be 'wales national newspaper' is the disturbing and sobering fact that wales is a nation in which none of its major broadcast or print media is owned or controlled in wales!

I struggle to think of any other nation in the world in which such a startling state of affairs exists or indeed would be tolerated. And it is frankly appalling that many of our political leaders in wales appear to be content with this unacceptable state of affairs!

So what it means in wales in the 21st century is that we in effect have a colonial media!! A media over which the welsh people have absolutely no control and a media which serves the interests of its english based owners and not the interests of the welsh people or the welsh nation!

This would of course be unacceptable in any event but is doubly so in a wales which is gaining ever greater control over its own affairs and which is embarking on a path that will lead to full self government.

Clearly we need a media in wales which reflects the profound and positive changes taking place in our country as its manifestly clear that the major media organs such as the BBC and the western mail are neither able to reflect these profound changes or interested in doing so!

Leigh Richards

Unknown said...

FYI Walesonline has closed its forums due to a decline in posters - driven away by the free reign given to the anti-welsh cadre - and the fact that the number of reported posts was going up.

Welshguy said...

More here:

The headline claims "Fall in number getting As & A*s".

But read in detail and it turns out that, although the proportion gaining the top grades has indeed fallen by about 1%, the numbers taking A-levels have gone up by 3%, meaning that in fact MORE Welsh students have gotten As this year than last. But perish the thought that Wales should be positively portrayed in the media!

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