Diary: Speaker's Corner

Solipsism is a state of mind in which people believe they are the centre of the universe, that everything revolves around them. Actors are prone to it. Fashionistas definitely. Nine out of ten people in advertising, too.

But no trade has solipsism worse than the media. You can see this in the proliferation of media sections in the upmarket press. Journalism, about journalism, for journalists. Pages and pages of copy by people obsessed by the contents of their own navels for a very few people obsessed by the self-same fluff.

The Guardian, The Observer, the Evening Standard and now The Independent.

I think The Times has one too, although it seems to be lost in the morass that is now the middle of the paper.

And what makes up the average content of these sections? Start with the backbiting, snide diary snippets, usually involving management misdeeds of the utmost triviality at rival media owners. Follow these up with "think" pieces agonising about the dumbing down of daytime TV (which journalists never watch, of course) or trying to prove that bad TV is really quite good - in a post-modern ironic way, of course. Then there's a column by a former national newspaper editor with some plaintive hand-wringing about the long-term decline of newspaper sales (hmm, ever wondered if maybe too much about the media was a contributory factor?). Follow that with a piece about the latest campaign for Levi's/Orange/BMW/Nike, which is just ab fab because it's directed by some hotshot 22-year-old who's doing the White Stripes' latest video (like we care).

And all this written to an agenda where you can hear axes being ground.

So hooray for The Daily Telegraph, which has decided to kill off its media section. I can only imagine what a relief this will be to the average reader of The Daily Telegraph (let's say a 40-year-old accountant from Uttoxeter), who may now be able to read about the things that really interest him: education, the state of public transport, the NHS and whether Charles can live in peace with Camilla.


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