7WD EXCLUSIVE: on exclusives

I’ve been paying lots of attention to the media here, trying to learn the ways of the British press. What I’ve noticed is that writers here really value “exclusives.” To prove this, I will recount a tale that happened here in Canterury (though I don’t think it really qualifies as a Canterbury tale, if you get my meaning).

One of my friends was speaking with a major reporter’s minion here at the Lambeth Conference. I had told my friend about something that happened in one of the “closed” plenary sessions. This event had been covered, so I had not disclosed anything secret. In any case, I had written about this detail on my blog. You can scour 7WD for the last 7D if you want to try and guess what it is. I’ll give a prize if you are right.

Anyway, this was the conversation (with stage directions):

Minion: So, what’s been going on?

Friend: Oh, I don’t really know.

Minion: Well, what are people talking about?

Friend: Lots of things.

M: Like what? Can you think of something interesting that’s happened?

F: Well, [event] happened at [session]

M: Really?

M scribbles feverish note.

F: But I think a friend of mine might have blogged it.

M scratches out note and walks away.

I am not making this up. So it’s only news if no one else has written about it. This helps to explain the ridiculous stories that circulate here. Reporters in the British press apparently have to write “exclusives” which just invites speculative writing. One very well-known journalist pretty much told me this when we were chatting in Dar es Salaam.

What’s my point? Don’t believe everything you read from the Lambeth Conference. Much of it will be rubbish.

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