Journalist and author Bryan Appleyard has urged the newspaper industry to do “what best we can to not be defeated” by tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
Appleyard was speaking after he received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on Thursday (pictured).
The 68-year-old, who has written for national titles including the Times and the Daily Telegraph, received the honour for services to journalism and the arts over a career spanning four decades.
He remains a special feature writer, commentator, reviewer and columnist for the Sunday Times, for which he has written since 1985.
The veteran journalist spoke after the ceremony about how news has changed since he started work at the the Wimbledon News, United Newspapers and then Times financial desk in the 1970s.
He said: “It’s different – Google and Facebook have stolen all our money so newspapers don’t have as much.
“It’s not as easy as it used to be because PRs get in the way now. But it’s still very vibrant, the British press, and it’s the best in the world.
“We need to do what best we can to not be defeated by the technology.”
He said one of his most important investigations was exposing false allegations about satanic ritual abuse of children in Rochdale – one of a number of scares in the 1990s.
He said: “I went up there (Rochdale) and discovered it was all nonsense. I wrote about it and exposed it as untrue.”
A 1994 government inquiry found that claims of abuse of children by covens of devil worshippers was a myth spread by Evangelical Christian scaremongers and others.
Writing in The Independent in 1994, he said: “I visited Rochdale in September 1990 when 30 children from six families had been taken into care amid allegations from social workers that satanism was involved.
“Within half an hour of arriving in the town I had been persuaded that these allegations could not be substantiated.
“The whole affair was a depressing mess and one which was turned into a national scandal by the appallingly gullible and ill-judged use by the social workers of the single word ‘satanism’.”
Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire