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Zoo News UK

Report: Magazine editors distance themselves from tabloid scandal

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By The Drum Team | Editorial

July 14, 2011 | 4 min read

Leading figures from the magazine world distanced themselves from the controversy surrounding their newspaper counterparts at an MPA debate in Manchester yesterday.

Barry McIlheney, the chief executive of magazine trade association the PPA, argued that not all journalists should get “tainted with the same brush” because of the scandal engulfing the tabloids.

The Zoo founder and former Smash Hits editor said: “There’s a world of difference between a certain newspaper journalist and another newspaper journalist. There’s an even greater world of difference between newspaper journalists and magazine journalists.”

McIlheney (pictured) expressed concern at David Cameron’s plans to axe the Press Complaints Commission and said he would recommend that the journalism industry remains self-regulated.

“Our position at the PPA, hopefully speaking for everyone in magazines, is that we have to be very careful not to throw the entire system away," McIlheney said.

“We’ve had self-regulation in this country for a long time. Clearly it has not worked brilliantly at all times and there has to be some reform of that. On the other hand the PCC has been in place for 20 years and there are thousands of cases each year where good work is done that goes unnoticed.

“If what David Cameron said last Friday, when he pretty much abolished the PCC ad hoc even though he can’t really do that, proves to be the case that will be a huge concern.

“I don’t think anybody wants a government-regulated press.”

Fellow panellist Lucie Cave, the executive editor of Heat, was asked if she was concerned that the outrage over newspapers’ behaviour could taint her magazine because of its emphasis on celebrity gossip.

She replied: “Not for us as a brand because the kind of world we circulate is James Corden dressing up in pants to look like David Beckham. We would not even entertain the idea of hacking into a celebrity’s phone.

“We sometimes get people phoning us up with salacious stories about someone doing drugs. It’s just not part of our world.

“Obviously it does mean the spotlight is on magazines like ours but it’s not part of our remit whatsoever.”

Sam Baker, the editor in chief of Red, was even more explicit about the way she believes magazines and newspapers conduct themselves differently.

She said: “With magazines that do a lot of real life stories, people want to speak to Red or they want to speak to Cosmo or they want to speak to Glamour because they trust them. People don’t speak to the Mail, or the Mirror or the Sun because they trust them. They speak to them because they might’ve been threatened or because they’ve been offered a lot of money.”

It was a sentiment shared by Jo Elvin, the editor of Glamour, who said: “Someone like Lily Allen or Cheryl Cole wants to come to Glamour to tell their story because they know they’re not going to get ‘done over’ - but at the same time they know there’s certain questions they need to answer.

“I think they’re much more inclined to come to a magazine that they read and know will give them honest treatment.”

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