The front page headline today in UK tabloid newspaper the Daily Express screams: "Stand Up and Fly for a Fiver!" Just to reiterate: this is the newspaper's front page story. What it views as the most important story of the day.

It's Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary throwing silly scraps to the media as usual. It just mystifies me how this tripe can make front page news. Fair play to the guy (as long as he didn't pay to be there on the front page and I don't think we have reached that stage in the game... yet). But honestly has journalism stooped this low now?

In theory O'Leary reckons he will take out the rear rows of seats and some of the loos to have a standing/perching area at the back of the plane. Yes, that's correct, people travelling on planes, standing up - all the time. No seats - just a stool or something to lean on. Total and utter nonsense. The minute the plane hits serious turbulence the idea becomes completely ridiculous. For heaven's sake even the crew sit down during serious turbulence. And if you've been in a plane in proper, hardcore turbulence you will know what I mean. You need to be seated to be safe.

This idea will never ever get off the ground. Ever. But wow it makes a great headline doesn't it?

And... people already do 'fly for a fiver' sitting down on Ryanair (assuming that they will add all the additional charges like airport tax and baggage on top which of course they will). It's not even amazingly cheap! This bunch of baloney has also been around for months and months too. It was first reported a year ago (!).

Why is the Express running it now? Because there's a TV programme about budget airlines on ITV tonight. That's the reason. Nothing else.

This is such lazy journalism. Are we really saying that some half-baked old story from a year ago that O'Leary chooses to trot out again for a half hour TV show is the most important thing happening in the world today? It probably took the writer 20 minutes to write. (Nice work Donna Bowater.) It was almost certainly generated by an ITV press release. It really gets to me the way that journalists treat their readers with such contempt and disinterest - feeding them whatever tripe a PR chooses to pump at them. And being so gullible to believe it in the first place.

Arrogant, lazy, cheap.

If you wanted a clear sign of where the industry is headed at the moment - due in part to the plummeting ad revenue and declining readerships as a result of the internet - here it is. I'm no fan of Rupert Murdoch, but if this is the kind of junk 'news' has become I'll pay for something better.

What do you think?

5 thoughts on “Lazy journalism, press releases and Ryanair

  1. As my long-departed granddad used to say, 40 years or so ago: "I wouldn't believe the date if it was written in the Express".

    [According to him, this referred to an actual time the Scottish Daily Express printed the wrong date on its cover. Matters not whether that's actually *true* or not... point stands, clearly.

  2. Absolutely.
    The thing that's got me really wondering is... today the news story about Ryanair SHOULD have been negative. They are putting up the cost of putting bags in the hold from £15 per bag to £20 per bag just when families are going away on summer holidays. Screwing more cash out of their customers, because they can. And yet the big headline here was yet another story about innovation and saving customers money. Wonder who spun that and whether any advertising budget was involved in the deal?

  3. As I tweeted a couple of weeks ago:
    Why does running newspapers appeal so much to utter lowlifes? RT @mediaguardian Desmond prepares to launch price war http://bit.ly/ciyHdo

    In some ways, journalism (and the general public) have more to fear - and loathe - in Richard Desmond than Rupert Murdoch. The Daily Star wasn't much to start with, but he has turned it into less than a joke: http://is.gd/dceQG

    This is not journalism. I don't think Donna Bowater had much to do with that Ryanair story. It is megalomaniac proprietors - and sales teams - who will do anything to increase sales.

    What I don't understand is that if a manufacturer of strawberry jam or radiators lied in order to sell more stuff, they'd be hauled over the coals, fined and possibly driven out of business. When a newspaper lies, it's all put down to a bit of knockabout, soaraway fun, and everyone's forgotten by lunchtime.

    But those liars are killing something which really matters. The issue here is not Ryanair or ITV press releases - the story is the Press Complaints Commission. It needs teeth.

    But teeth need money, and now we have insane Tory cuts to contend with. SNAFU.

  4. It's the same story with the travel industry news sites. Whenever Ryanair cut back services from an airport it is usually accompanied with a quote from Michael O'leary stating that the cut back was due to the usurious rates being charged by the airports.

  5. Hi James
    Yes. This story particularly annoys me.
    From what I've heard it's often the other way round. It's the airports have to pay Ryanair. Granada in Spain is a good example. Ryanair stopped flying to the city as I understand it from various people I know there because the city was not prepared to stump up a load of a cash demanded by the airline to keep serving their airport. Ironic isn't it? What all those people flying for £20 or whatever don't appreciate is that the destination airport/town council/business community is actually paying part of their fare.
    I've no huge issue with the idea in principle, but it would be good if the destination got some kind of formal exposure out of the deal too. 'Your flight today to Granada is sponsored by Granada City Council, the Granada Hotels' Association etc.'
    Thanks for your comment!

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