Letter from the editor: We're clearly obsessed, but are you?

Simon Kelner
Wednesday 26 January 2011 08:01
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If there’s one thing that newspaper people are obsessed with, it’s other newspapers.

In the way that the Westminster village people think that the minutiae of their daily lives are endlessly fascinating to the general public, so inhabitants of the media village (a dysfunctional community, more like) often have a blinkered view about what matters to people in the real world. That’s why the phone-hacking scandal, and also News Corp’s attempts to buy BSkyB outright, present a challenge for us.

Because, put simply, we’re engrossed in these running stories, but we’re not sure that you are, too. Of course, these are not simply media village stories. The phone-hacking scandal involves government at the highest level (Gordon Brown’s suggestion that he was hacked), the police at the highest level (accusations that the Met were asleep at the wheel) and one of the world’s most powerful media companies (News Corp). And the BSkyB inquiry is a major political story that has already put a Cabinet member in the firing line. Nevertheless, does the outcome of these stories really affect you? How much do you care that a bunch of celebs had their phones hacked? And does it truly matter whether Rupert Murdoch owns most or all of BSkyB?

We ask these questions of ourselves every day, and we try to put aside our partisan interest. i does not have a political axe to grind, but our belief is that these stories tell you a lot about where power resides in Britain, the way it is exercised, and how it’s sometimes abused. They tell you about politics, influence and the way business works. (Also, it is worth recording that we are one of only two newspaper groups covering the hacking story.) We think these stories do matter to you. I’m sure you’ll let me know if you disagree.

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