Private Eye, 20 Feb- 5 March.
Last year we reported how Telegraph hacks are encouraged to surf popular keywords while writing copy for the online edition. Confirmation has now come from a surprising source – none other than Marcus Warren, editor of telegraph.co.uk.
In a rather sniffy review of James Harkin’s new book Cyburbia for Management Today, Warren complains that Harkin “sometimes sounds as paranoid as any deluded conspiracy theorist in the most whacko chatroom. Journalists who include search keywords in their copy online ‘find themselves strapped uncomfortably into our electronic id’, he argues, citing ‘anecdotal evidence’ that this sinister practics actually goes on….Well, as editor of the UK’s fastest-growing newspaper website, I can assure you that my colleagues are encouraged to take account fo what the strongest search terms are for any story they write.
It’s all true, then; but not sinister in the least. As Warren explains, “That’s part of the basic hygiene of modern journalism.” Now wash your hands.