A Word To The Wise

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21 February 2012 - 10:12am | posted by | 3 comments

Rangerstaxcase.com: A triumph for social media (in Glasgow!)

Glasgow Rangers Football ClubGlasgow Rangers Football Club

Head of B2B at Willoughby PR, Tom Leatherbarrow, shares his thoughts on the blog Rangerstaxcase.com.

For those who didn't get around to reading the Guardian's excellent article on Saturday about the phenomenal job done by the blog 'Rangerstaxcase.com.', I would urge you to make time to give it a read.

Even if you are not a football supporter, there is much to ponder on from the perspective of the performance of traditional media sources and in terms of the impact of social media.

It is a story with multiple themes; alienation of the traditional football fan; a perceived failure on the part of traditional media and the use of social media as a catalyst for the sharing of vital information amongst stakeholders.

For those who don't have the time let me summarise the story for you here. An anonymous football supporter, ironically not a Rangers supporter, got wind of the tax trouble that Glasgow Rangers was in, but could find no mention of it amongst traditional media outlets.

Instead, traditional media fed its readers, namely the club’s supporters, the usual stories including the building of a super casino and transfer gossip, including, apparently, a 'link' to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. The result was that many Rangers supporters had little clue that their club owed £70 million to HMRC until last week when it went bust.

In frustration, our anonymous hero set up a blog, 'rangerstaxcase.com', and started digging deeper. The blog has ‘broken’ a whole host of stories in relation to the case and now has a daily traffic of over 100,000 views with reader comments coming in at a rate of about 1,500 per day. Bear in mind that these people are not discussing football, they are discussing accounting conventions and insolvency law!

How did this happen? Our hero blames an unholy triangle of trade in which traditional media sources have got too close to the club and felt unable to cover the story for risk of losing their ‘access’.

For the record, I am fully aware of the role that PR has probably played in all of this. PR people at Rangers, let’s assume they were in the know, have been feeding these stories to traditional media outlets, in the guise of ‘doing their job’.

So what can we learn from all of this? Media owners from Rupert Murdoch down have blamed the internet for their woes, but this case begs the question whether certain sections of traditional media are giving readers the information they need and perhaps explains why so many are turning to alternative sources of information.

It must also be remembered that not all traditional media is scared of questioning itself. After all, I read this story in The Guardian. Kudos to them for running it!


21 Feb 2012 - 11:39
iainmhepburn's picture

If not all traditional media is scared of questioning itself, why did it take the Guardian so long to cover a story that RTC and many other sports bloggers had been doing so for months - if not years.

Indeed, where then is Guardian Scottish football writer Ewan Murray's lengthy exposes on the Rangers financial situation, if they were so ahead of the curve.

Nobody's denying the RTC blog's sterling efforts - indeed, I named it as my media of the year on this very site last year - but I'm not sure the Guardian deserves excessive praise for running a blog piece six days into the latest developments of a story it itself had ignored for months....

21 Feb 2012 - 13:31
georg33104's picture

journo's constantly EXPRESS freedom of speech and yet,as what RTC has exposed,they have had their tongues/pen tied due to their "closeness"to RFC which in my mind does not HERALD a form of balance.You could almost TELEGRAPH the way they have avoided even talking about it many months ago.It also must be said that the men at the top of most newspapers have also been silent on these matters...will heads roll for this? I wonder if someone will come out and put on RECORD their reasons for the lack of bringing this to light .It is strange that, no matter what newspaper the journo's worked for, they all seem to have the same MIRROR image of each other,by that i mean "silent"...looking at each other and asking "are you going to print it"

You would think that most journo's would be clammering for "the scoop" as they are all INDEPENDENT of each other,but no,nothing...zip...hee haw.An outside OBSERVER would be out raged and thats exactly what RTC was and has done something about it.What a STAR you are Mr/Mrs RTC

It seems to me that more than one SCOTSMAN should be tied to a POST and flogged many many TIMES for allowing the plight of RFC to go under the radar in this matter instead of reporting it early and maybe,just maybe,someone or some PEOPLE could of helped long before it got to this stage

This awful situation that RFC find themselves in has now made them NEWS OF THE WORLD (sorry for that one) but it is true that scottish football has hit the world headlines but not in a good way

I think its fair to say that the SUN is not shining down on ibrox by day but in the EVENING,TIMES are getting even darker

Shame on the PRESS and JOURNO's

22 Feb 2012 - 02:45
karen90437's picture

Being a Rangers Supporter we're always talking about how hated we are by the media & there are a few Celtic fan blogs out there exposing our troubled side - mainly we assume because they hate us & wrongly assume we think we're beloved of the Nation... That's probably a flaw in human nature.

I used to be a hack & ignored sports talk in case it got too macho & terrifying - but I do remember one journo outraged we weren't going to run a story about a Priest caught with Prostitutes in case Catholics boycotted the paper. Horrifyingly it all came out yrs later anyway in the aftermath of a brutal murder... At the time I thought it was right not to run the story if it upset the city (plus the Priest sounded vulnerable & I was glad he wasn't going to get a tabloid monstering) but the consequences were worse.

The only moral compass news has is sales & their reader's demographic. It's why the internet is freer & the news can't catch up.


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