Media Power List

All The Cursed Media News You Might Have Missed Recently

Which profession is the most long-suffering: Royal Correspondent or podcaster? Nicholas Witchell​ and Mark Zuckerberg battle it out.

by Gavin Haynes
13 May 2019, 9:13am

Image via BBC News

Welcome to the Media Power List. Every two weeks we'll be running a rundown of who's killing it in everyone's favourite dying industry. Let's go.

15. CNN

"How black will the royal baby be?" Excuse me while I check my Dulux cards, CNN… How about "Stonecrop?" "Russet Tan"? "Clay Court"? "Warm Nutmeg"? "Cappuccino Candy"!?

14. CGTN

Ofcom is to look into the Chinese state broadcaster's English language arm – which now has a plush, well-staffed broadcast centre in west London – because they broadcasted the torture-extracted confession of a British businessman accused of espionage. But if forced confession is suddenly against Ofcom rules, then how do you explain Andrew Neil?

13. STRONG WORDS

If you've ever wondered what the former editors of lad mags are up to now, Martin Daubney is an outrage culture merchant and Brexit Party candidate, while Ed Needham of FHM has sunk his own money into a literary magazine that he wants to be the "antidote to literary magazines", which is laid out like 90s FHM, down to the review titles printed in big bold highlighted font: "A MEMOIR BY THE SURVIVOR OF SOME TYRANNICAL PARENTING", "THE NOVEL THAT FINDS SOMETHING UNNERVING IN AN ANCIENT FOREST". Truly, books are the tits that never droop.

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Screenshot: Sky News

12. DANNY BAKER

Daily Mail turns up on his doorstep the morning after his Royal baby monkey tweet literally, word-for-word, asking him if he is a racist. He denies it. JUST LIKE A RACIST WOULD. But the real story is the Mail's eternal habit of pricing up property in even the most dire and unseemly of circumstances, leading to brilliant quotes like: “Opening the door to his £2 million house in a dressing gown, Baker denied he was racist."

11. ARCHIE MOUNTBATTEN

Britain’s biggest post-foetus celebrity took his first photo call in front of just a single camera, one TV lens and only one reporter, after his parents vetoed the typical media scrum that Kate and William subjected themselves to with their kids. They killed Di: Harry gets it.

10. NICHOLAS WITCHELL

Veteran BBC Royal correspondent forgets what he has to say live on the 10 O’Clock News, and gets so flustered he has to hand back to the studio. A grateful nation thanks him for the most informed commentary of the week.

9. ALSO NICHOLAS WITCHELL

Seriously, though – is there any greater punishment in journalism than "Royal Correspondent"? Your quarry doesn’t want to speak to you, has nothing to say, doesn’t do anything but wave and shit out babies. At best, your life consists of endless appearances on ITV talking-heads documentaries about "The Queen At 106", where you, in breathless tones, confide that Her Majesty is “very dutiful” and "a deeply sincere person". To make matters worse, Witchell was once personally humiliated by Prince Charles, who caught a hot mic carping about "that awful man Witchell".


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8. THE OXFORD INTERNET INSTITUTE

Lengthy study concludes that any links between teenagers' life satisfaction and their social media use are "trivial", making up less than 1 percent of teen wellbeing. You know that feeling of staring deep into the Instagram abyss, the angst of being drip-fed emotional poison on an IV line of tar-black dopamine hits? That’s all on you: that’s basically just your personality.

7. “TECH & SOCIETY”

After almost an entire year of news stories hinting that he might be submitting a bid for the presidency, Mark Zuckerberg officially... has a podcast now. "That’s crazy, Yuval Noah Hariri, but have you ever smoked DMT?"

6. DEEP DOT WEB

Taken down by the feds for posting Dark Web links on the Clearnet. Rest in peace, Free Speech.

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Austin Jones. Screenshot: YouTube

5. AUSTIN JONES

Former YouTuber sentenced to a decade in jail for getting 14-year-old girls to send nudes. Considering YouTube is essentially the digital marketplace of ideas equivalent to Saville-era BBC, it feels like this trend has a way to run yet.

4. PINCH OF NOM

Worst book name of all time. Why not just go with Glut of Smegma? Unlike, say, Drizzle of Pizzle, Pinch of Nom is also a slimmers Facebook group with 800,000 members. This means the Pinch Of Nom recipe book is now one of the most popular cookbooks of all time, beating Jamie Oliver’s record to become the fastest book to reach 500,000 sales. For the past three weeks, it has been glued to the top of the Amazon bestsellers list.

In short, Nom is the best example yet of the great book publishing trend of our times: socials. Ever since Zoella smashed up the UK book market with her "memoir", the tech-phobic two-finger typists of the big publishing houses have been obsessed with your follower count. Want a book deal? Almost any book deal? You’ll need around 30,000 followers. "Proof of market", they’ve begun calling it. Conversely: got 50,000 followers? Expect a horde of Waterford-vowelled women called Agnes to DM asking if you’ve ever "considered writing a book". The tail is now fully wagging the dog, but as Pinch of Nom shows, you can’t fault an industry for going with what works.

3. EVA HEYMAN

An 11-year-old Hungarian Jewish girl murdered in the Holocaust is having her story dramatised on Instagram, in a big money, high-gloss Israeli production built around slightly clunky “Hashtag BFFs” dialogue. Imagine, the producers seem to be saying, a world in which Anne Frank was live-Tweeting from the attic; where Adolf Eichmann was Snapchatting dick-pics to Reinhard Heydrich; and Primo Levi was the Mayor of Birkenau on Foursquare. Or, um, please don’t?

2. DOMINGO CULLEN

YouTube addict pens stunning and brave account of his brutal addiction to cute animal videos. In the land of YouTube, the algorithm either sends you to Squirrel CPR or Race Realism. There is no in-between. Choose your team.

1. THE GUARDIAN

Made £800,000 last year. Their first profit in 20 years, after burning through £600 million in losses. **While you’re here, could we trouble you for a monthly donation to support the VICE.COM community?**

@gavhaynes