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How social media keeps turning the tables on tabloid hacks

Dom Burch is the founder and MD of Why Social, a strategic marketing consultancy, and former senior director of marketing innovation and new revenue at Asda. Trained in PR, Dom has spent the last 17 years in a variety of comms roles at Asda, Direct Line and Green Flag including head of PR and head of social.

Two stories this week have highlighted once again the power individuals have to fight back when they feel wronged by the old school media.

The Sun on Sunday led the charge against junior doctors by labelling the BMA union leaders as 'Moet Medics', claiming they 'have enjoyed lavish holidays and parties and some own £500,000 homes.'

It didn't take long for junior doctors to create a trending hashtag #MoetMedics to hit back, which then prompted other media to capture it all, spreading the message further.

Buzzfeed then found out one of the smeared medics was actually volunteering at a remote hospital in Nepal.

It reported the response of a junior doctor acccused by The Sun of “living the high life” after she posted a picture of her and friends to Facebook.

The doctor is quoted saying: "The photo of my colleagues and I with the elephant was taken when we spent eight weeks working at a small hospital in Nepal as medical students. We were part of their clinical team helping out on ward rounds and in the out-patient clinics as much as we could."

The second story, also in The Sun as it happens, but frankly could've been in any tabloid paper, related to the divorce of Gary Lineker.

As covered in The Drum, the brother of former England star and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker blasted the Sun’s investigations into the recent split of Gary and his wife Danielle Bux on Twitter.

Wayne Lineker took to the social network to reveal the how a Sun reporter pursued him for a quote on his brother's divorce.

He refused. Then proved he had done so by revealing all the DMs the reporter had sent him.

Both highlight the dilemma facing mainstream journalists who once wielded all of the power, but now can quickly become the story themselves.

If you ask me, it is a healthy dynamic and will drive up standards of reporting.

Those standards were put to the test with the untimely deaths of Bowie and Rickman this week, both of whom managed to lead a private life right until the end, much to the frustration of newspaper editors I'm sure.

As Andy Lewis tweeted earlier today, newspapers have no automatic right to know.

He made the point that Rickman’s “secret” battle with cancer and Bowie’s “secret” cremation, were in fact “private” not secret.

When hacks overstep the mark in the future they may be forced have their own day under the spotlight, if not the Sun, which may make them think twice.

Follow Dom on Twitter @domburch

Dom Burch

Dom Burch is the founder and MD of Why Social, a strategic marketing consultancy, and former senior director of marketing innovation and new revenue at Asda.

Trained in PR, Dom has spent the last 17 years in a variety of comms roles at Asda, Direct Line and Green Flag including head of PR and head of social.

More recently he was responsible for marketing innovation, helping explore new revenue opportunities. In his tenure he helped build a pipeline of digital assets that unlocked investment from FMCG brands who valued having access to Asda's 18m customers.

This included overseeing the transformation of Asda.com's adserving capability, which will enable Asda to become a credible media publisher. He has also built Mum's Eye View on YouTube, capturing 11m views since launch in under 18 months.

His 'Thought of the Day' column explores the ever changing world of social media marketing.

All by Dom