Review of the year: Media

The mobile-phone rise of the 'citizen journalist'

The year saw the best and worst of the British media; rising to the challenge of extraordinary events at home and abroad, while dragging the industry's reputation to new depths with bitter feuding and bad behaviour.

The suicide attacks on London in July brought the most shocking carnage of British peacetime history and a supreme test for journalists in all media. The rolling television news channels came into their own, with BBC News 24 recovering well from a shaky start, and Sky News correspondent Martin Brunt consistently ahead of the opposition as the investigation unfolded.

The two channels bickered as to which was the leading player, but ITV News nipped in to land the biggest scoop, obtaining unforgettable amateur pictures of the arrest of two bare-chested terrorist suspects on the balcony of a London housing block. That footage, along with shots of the bombings taken by Tube passengers on mobile phones, helped to forge closer ties between the media and the "citizen journalists" of the public.

The danger faced by correspondents in Iraq was underlined by the kidnapping of The Guardian's Rory Carroll and warnings from The Independent's Robert Fisk that the risks to Western reporters in that country were making their jobs all but impossible. When floods engulfed New Orleans, some beleaguered residents encountered adventurous British journalists well before the arrival of the American emergency services.

But, just as there were reasons for pride, there was cause for embarrassment. At the British Press Awards in March, Sir Bob Geldof launched an extraordinary attack on newspaper editors - except Rebekah Wade of The Sun - for their coverage of Africa. The event descended into alcohol-fuelled arguments more furious even than those of previous years and prompted 10 editors to threaten a boycott of future ceremonies because of the "decline in conduct and prestige".

Wade launched an attack of her own in November, being hauled in for questioning by the police after assaulting her husband, the EastEnders actor Ross Kemp. The press made rather less of the story than you might expect after a frantic round of calls among the power players in the media village.

Press Gazette, which stages the British Press Awards, was bought by PR man Matthew Freud and the former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan. They promised to clean up the awards ceremony, despite Morgan's own excesses at previous events.

The revolution in the quality press continued with The Guardian's £100m switch to the larger-than-tabloid, smaller-than-broadsheet Berliner format in September. The change renewed interest in the sector and brought circulation increases all round, except for The Daily Telegraph, which had a miserable 2005. Editor Martin Newland departed in November, just as The Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson did in June. Sarah Sands was promoted to Lawson's position, while John Bryant, the veteran former Times and Daily Mail executive, is in temporary charge at the daily. The FT's Andrew Gowers also walked in 2005, departing after four years (an unusually short tenure for an FT editor), to be replaced by Lionel Barber.

There were musical chairs, too, at BBC 1, where controller Lorraine Heggessey departed in May to head up Talkback Thames, leaving former Talkback chief Peter Fincham to take her seat in White City. Andrew Marr took over from Sir David Frost in his Sunday morning political chatshow slot, prompting the BBC to take back ITV's Nick Robinson as political editor and Frostie to join a bunch of other British journalists in signing up for the new Al-Jazeera International.

Channel 4 managed to lower the tone, (Big Brother showed housemates having sex in a hot tub) and raise it by launching the digital channel More4, aimed at "intelligent adults".

ITV chief Charles Allen defied his critics by retaining his position, taking the knife to some senior executives and successfully pursuing a multichannel strategy. Commercial radio consolidated further with the merger of GWR and Capital, while Radio 4's John Humphrys was criticised over remarks about politicians he made in an after-dinner speech.

In advertising, Trevor Beattie ended his association with TBWA and set up a new agency, Beattie McGuinness Bungay. John Hegarty and BBH secured the account coup of the year by prising away the British Airways portfolio from Maurice and Charles Saatchi. Meanwhile, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that the UK's online advertising spend had overtaken those for outdoor and radio. The magazine launch of the year was Emap's slick, sassy weekly Grazia, not Condé Nast's lacklustre Easy Living.

Reality TV and pop impresarios Simon Cowell and Simon Fuller fell out, then made up. What chance the rest of the media burying their differences in 2006? None at all.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture