Campbell: B2Bs must cash in on negativity of nationals

Campbell: ‘B2B is a big growth story’

Former government spin doctor and Mirror journalist Alastair Campbell urged magazine publishers to take advantage of the “culture of negativity” in the national press, by providing greater expertise and straighter reporting.

Speaking at the PPA Magazines 2004 conference, Campbell highlighted the growth of B2B titles and attacked the press for its negative coverage.

Opening his speech, he quipped: “It is nice to be in a room with media people – none of whom I have ever had a shouting match with.”

Campbell said he had grown a reputation for being “anti-media” and said the national press had branded him “somewhere between Harold Shipman and asylum seekers in a Daily Mail lexicon of hatred”.

He accused the press of being too driven by bad news, which he said had created a “culture of negativity” in the media and a lack of trust. “One of the great frustrations of No 10 was being confronted by a media pack who prefer failure to success,” he said.

“I think the relative decline in trust in parts of the media and the relative rise in a market like yours is in fact because of the way they cover politics rather than in spite of it.”

Campbell claimed another difficulty was trying to convince the government that coverage in a few paragraphs in the nationals was actually worth less than thousands of websites which could result in worldwide coverage. “That process was very slow – too slow as far as I was concerned.”

He told magazine publishers they had a chance to gain credibility while other parts of the media were “losing it”.

“I think you are on a faster track than it sometimes feels to you,” he said.

“People who are interested in serious issues, I think, are looking for greater depth, greater expertise and straighter coverage.

“B2B is a big growth story. We still think too much in conventional terms – national newspapers and broadcast – but there is a bigger, possibly better world.”

Campbell said it was paradoxical that while there was now more media coverage, there was less understanding of the serious issues affecting our lives.

By Ruth Addicott

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