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Another nice article from George Monbiot.

Today's comment is on the increasing power the supermarkets, Tesco in particular, hold over the publishing industry and journalists.

In the US, Wal-Mart (which owns Asda in the UK) has told Cosmopolitan to remove cover billings about abortion.(10) It has delisted the lad mags Maxim, FHM and Stuff, and banned an album by Sheryl Crow, which criticised Wal-Mart for selling guns.(11) Its policies, the evangelical group Focus on the Family exults, have hit publishers “like a brick in the head.”(12) Now AOL Time Warner, according to the New York Post, is “consulting very closely with Wal-Mart to help figure out the type of magazine the giant retailer would like to see on its racks.”(13)

In the UK, Tesco is alleged to be doing something similar. “According to senior publishing industry sources,” the Observer reports, “Tesco has asked to see copies of covers prior to publication and asked for late changes on at least one occasion.”(14) And this is before the OFT changes the rules.

This is just crazy. A journalist expects editorial control, accepts that the "big boss" might put an oar in with an eye to keeping the advertisers happy. The main thing has always been to increase circulation by writing articles that appeal to the readers.

The threat that Tesco poses to sales figures is changing that completely. Increase circulation by writing what Tesco wants to see? That's crazy and definitely not in the public's best interest.

Clearly Tesco and WalMart don't need to make any more money and we certainly don't need to buy our newspapers and magazines from them.


Blogger porchwise said...

The magazine business is on its last legs anyway. WalMart selection is chic-lit, muscle,workout rags, and all else that any literary person would find quite insipid. As to your blog about the IP, freedom of speech still prevails and the name Wal-Mart is in the public domain. I suspect that IP was their advertising boys just looking at what people are bitching about. As to SiteMeters...poobah, who cares?

Sat May 21, 11:16:00 PM GMT  
Blogger chris said...

if there are no magazines about in 2065 then they must be on a downward trend soon...

Sun May 22, 09:02:00 AM GMT  

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