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Saturday 5 March 2011

Get An Expert? No, Just Copy The Press Release

Had it been the Express or Star, one might have expected to see the copy lifted from PR or press release. But the Daily Mail, whatever its editorial line, is a well bankrolled paper, as evidenced by its ability to be at the front of the queue whenever a chequebook needs to be opened.

But give the assembled hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre anything at all specialised to report on, and they fall back on wire copy or the publicity handout – right down to the schoolboy spelling mistake.

The Mail has decided to run a feature about a new generation of high speed trains entering service in Japan. The inference of the story is that this is A Good Thing, provided it gets done in another country: then the hacks can go into why-oh-why mode about the UK being unable to catch up.

However, when the UK Government decides that it would rather like a bit of the high speed rail magic here, the Mail can whinge about the Nimbys about to be struck by planning blight, the cost of the project (as if it comes free in Japan), and how the country is too crowded for this kind of thing (as if Japan is not).

Along the way, the Mail gushes about the 186mph top speed of the new trains, apparently unaware that this experience can be enjoyed by anyone travelling by Eurostar from London to Paris. Other high speed lines across Europe also get close to that speed, or better it.

But the obvious howler, which gives the press release game away, is where the Mail translates the Japanese name of the new train – Hayabusa – as “Falcoln”. Hayabusa is Japanese for Falcon – that is, the bird of prey.

Didn’t anyone think it looked odd? Fortunately for all those big-money hacks, the embarrassment only extends to “Daily Mail Reporter”.

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