The London Evening Standard says “sorry”

May 5, 2009

Bleary-eyed commuters passing through Clapham Junction station in southwest London on their way to work this week were among the first to witness the opening blast of one of the most remarkable advertising campaigns to have hit the capital in recent years.******No, not Flu Man sneezing his germs all over us but a short message in huge black lettering that simply says: “Sorry for losing touch.”******The only clue as to who is so publicly donning the hair shirt is a small drawing tucked away in the corner of the hoarding featuring the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus, the  logo of London’s only paid-for evening paper, the Evening Standard.******The message is an attempt by the paper to reconnect with its readership now that it is under new ownership and will appear in the next few weeks on the side of buses and on the underground. Other slogans will say Sorry for being negative, for taking you for granted, for being complacent and for being predictable.******Not the hardest word at all then, though one that seems likely to cause considerable offence to the paper’s former editor Veronica Wadley.******The campaign comes in response to market research, commissioned by the newspaper’s new editor, Geordie Greig, which found that Londoners felt the paper was too negative and did not meet the capital’s needs.******Russian tycoon and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev bought the loss-making Standard from the Daily Mail and General Trust in February and media analysts have long predicted it will become less right-wing in its political stance. Some expect it to go more upmarket in an attempt to distance itself from the free sheets which have cut so badly into its circulation.******But few can have predicted such a public confessional as this. The “Sorry” campaign will run for three weeks in the run-up to the 181-year-old paper’s relaunch later this month.******After a year in which so many have been clamouring for a “sorry” from miscreants ranging from bankers to MPs and even debt-laden prime ministers, Londoners may actually soon find themselves becoming sick of the word.


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Actually this campaign was originally presented to Gordon Brown as the basis for a re-launch following all his recent travails. His response was to throw a printer at the agency followed by two Nokias. So they decided to present it to the new owner of the Standard instead.

Posted by michael moszynski | Report as abusive

I first thought it was an advert from Sony but then I realized it was from the Evening Standard.Too bad for Sony they did not made it.

Posted by scar | Report as abusive

The London Evening Standard has for years been slightly to the right of Genghis Khan and massively out of touch of the majority of Londoners. Only time will tell whether it is capable of moving from a niche hate-sheet to a mainstream and respected newspaper, but this is a step in the right direction.

Posted by Paul Harper | Report as abusive

This is splendid indeed. Who would have thought that a tabloid version of the Guardian or Independent was needed. Sadly,this newspaper will die soon.

Posted by Walter | Report as abusive

Sorry to see the changes. Dave USA

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

do I have this right?An EX KGB Agent buys a London based “right-wing” news source and we’re happy?Aristotle is dead again.

Posted by ryan | Report as abusive

Sorry but I liked the paper the old way.Not happy the ex-KGB bought the newspaper to “change” it.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

“The London Evening Standard has for years been…massively out of touch of the majority of Londoners.”So was Churchill.

Posted by Bingo | Report as abusive

Maybe the American media could take a lesson from this, starting with MSNBC on TV, and with The New York Times and the rest of them right behind. Most of the American media refuse to air any stories negative to the Democratic party and regularly concoct negative stories out of whole cloth about anyone who is not a Democrat. At a critical time during the presidential campaign, the New York Times broke a story on its front page about John McCain having an affair with one of his campiagn staff, while ignoring the breaking news about John Edwards visiting his mistress in California while his wife was fighting cancer. The McCain story was totally untrue, as are many such stories in both the New York Times and the American media, while the Edwards story was being suppressed because it was damaging to the Democratic party. As a result of the daily agenda of these media sources, most of them are now rightly suffering and fighting for their survival because of almost total loss of the public trust, while those which have remained demonstrably truthful are attacked more by their competition, but remain increasingly profitable and have retained and increased the trust of the majority of the people. The equation is both simple and ancient: “truth in reporting”!

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

“We’re sorry for being predictable..” Now please read our headline story about Michelle Obama’s arms…

Posted by Adam Smith | Report as abusive

This is very interesting. Slightly to the right of Genghis Khan? Sounds like my kind of broadsheet. Being a Texan, I don’t read the Evening Standard and had no idea that it was considered to be a right wing paper. I had no idea there were any right wing papers in England at all. At any rate, I find this “confession” to be troubling. And, ironic – given that all things (and politicians) Left have fallen out of favor, of late.A “step in the right direction”? Sound like surrender to me. Were the French somehow involved in this? What’s next – a nationwide call to evening prayer?I don’t for a moment entertain any fantasy that the British are dying to know what advice an American might have to offer, but I feel compelled to give it, regardless.Rise up. The real British people should rise up and crush the Left. At your polling places, of course. You should also work as though your life depended upon it (it does) to rip liberalism out by the roots from your nation and crush it beneath your collective heel. Today – begin today.

Posted by Yankee | Report as abusive

I’m from the US, so I am wondering what exactly is considered “right wing” these days in the UK?

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Wither, Britannia?

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

All print media are under stress, regardless of political leanings. It is never a good thing to have foreign ownership of a medium with unique access such as the Standard. A newspaper should not seek to be “in step” with any perceived local political bias, but, instead, make a stand to provide balanced insight, brief the reader on information not found elsewhere, and cut through the spin and political clutter. If the readers want a rag to echo their perspective, then buy a fan-zine and stay close minded.

Posted by Dr. K. Alexander Cook | Report as abusive

Fish and Chip shops in England open during the evening, so if this papers joins the Socialist/Communist crowd it can be used to keep a delicious meal warm.

Posted by Roy | Report as abusive

Funny how the new owner is a Russian tycoon who happens to be an ex-KGB agent. Actually Russia is no different than when it was communist. The ideological nomenclature has changed but the powers that be remain the same. Russia is a joke. England is becoming a joke too. Jesus, when it said they were sorry for previous reporting I could have sworn it was the BBC for its leftist bias. But no it was a right leaning paper turning left. Now that’s funny. A nation full of Guardian and BBC readers and you need another leftist rag? God save the Queen indeed!

Posted by Harry | Report as abusive

Less Right Wing? Going to KGB ownership is carrying things a bit too far.

Posted by Dennis D | Report as abusive

“Right wing” British newspaper?? Surely you jest! Maybe slightly right of the far left ditch.

Posted by JBnID | Report as abusive

I do not understand, I thought the media was suppose to report facts, not lean left or right. I am not sure what has happened to the ethics of our journalist these past twenty years or so, all I know is that they have failed the public.I am totally in awe how complacent the British people have become under their government, they don’t want to think for themselves, and they are about to become obsolete as a country. A once great nation,….its a shame. I am amazed that there is not outcry about the new owners background, amazed that no alarms being sounded.

Posted by Andrea | Report as abusive

Yeah, what exactly is right wing in Britain? 60% tax rates instead of 70%? C’mon. Aren’t the media markets already a teeny bit saturated with leftist dogma?

Posted by Brent | Report as abusive

TEXAN @2:44 AM GMT,LOL!!! Thanks for the humor! We need all the laughter we can get in these miserable times- esp. here in CA.You are totally spot on in your comments.Are you a writer? If not, have you considered being a writer?

Posted by Sue | Report as abusive

I am sorry you feel the need to say sorry. Obama must be rubbing off on you. Sorry to hear it!—Crying a river, building a bridge, and getting over it.

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

I see a number of Yanks rooting for y’all to get your country back. Good for them. Personally, I think Formerly Great Britain is toast. My idea is simple: time for y’all to jump the pond and joint us. We’re gonna need you. But only you Brits who hope to make something of yourselves should come. I didn’t make that clear.

Posted by russ | Report as abusive

“Being a Texan, I don’t read the Evening Standard and had no idea that it was considered to be a right wing paper. I had no idea there were any right wing papers in England at all.”Spoken like a good little right-winger. Who needs those stupid FACTS when you have your unsupported belief set to keep you warm at night?Don’t worry your 10-gallon head over it, Tex. The world is exactly the way you need to believe it is, even if the facts don’t back that up. Correction, ESPECIALLY if the facts don’t back that up. Never let that stupid “reality” sway your thinking. Everyone thinks like you do. Feel better yet?

Posted by Cranky Media Guy | Report as abusive

Sadly, the British have suffered a lowered standard of living, a contamination of their culture, loss of freedom of speech and the right to self defense. Is this what the British wanted? If not, just what is the new (non right wing) newspaper going to do for them?

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

You ask why the Brits would hire ex-KGB influences? A better question would be who pays for articles that ignore or misrepresent events that strike terror in a population? For example, anytime violent acts have happened in France, these have been presented as originating from disgruntled youths. Too bad the the job of the press has been reduced to interpreting rather than reporting.Bernard Lewis wrote that the newspaper is a Middle Eastern invention, solely to disseminate government “information”.I am trying to imagine how the newspapers of today would have reported on William’s arrival in 1066?

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

I buy the eveningstandard everyday.I still think its a great paper used to be fantastic for looking for jobsI personally wish them all the best for the future

Posted by brian love | Report as abusive

Oh no, the Apologetic-Obama-flu has spread to the UK. Too bad-there’s no vaccine.

Posted by anais | Report as abusive

Yes, Bingo-here in the States we know how horrible Churchill was-Obama made that eminently clear when he returned the Churchill statue to your country. Funny though how Obama found the old man worthy enough to quote in his last national press conference. Go figure.

Posted by anais | Report as abusive

Looks like the Standard is simply taking a page out of Obama’s book which guided the famed Apology Tour. Let’s see how far it gets them.

Posted by Conservative Professor | Report as abusive

[…] The London Evening Standard says “sorry” (Reuters) […]

Posted by New Media Hub | Blog Archive | Around the web-5/11 | Report as abusive

God, could the English discuss this? Instead of the same blathering monotone shrill that every website gets flooded with when Drudge opens the spigots of right wing insecurity on a web-page?Thank you for visiting, but please let us work through our own issues.I do agree this is a mistake marketing wise… and I cannot foresee strong recovery against the free papers being handed out everywhere. And they need to do something. But I have see a level of intolerance creep into the standard, that I think toning down wouldn’t hurt. We all know Brown has to go, but lets not adopt the burn the house down to win practices of our American cousins, who cannot find the middle.A paper that respectfully and dutifully reports conservative views, without entering into the language of vitriol? Well I would say I would very much consider picking that paper up again. Now if there was a way to keep comments civil, and in a constructive decorum… where ideas are discussed without name calling and doctrine baiting.Seems there is room for improvement everywhere.

Posted by gorgeous | Report as abusive

Funny people’s distorted view of Churchill through out english history. Churchill “was out of touch”, silenced and outcasted for his views on Nazi Germany and the evil that it posed in the 30’s. London was complacent at the threat and just wanted the “bad man to go away” while Nazi Germany built one of the largest and likely most effective military the world has ever seen. It was only after people realized liberal left wing politics yet again resulted in a weak country and failure, that the Neville Chamberlain, one of the worst leaders of all-time, was ousted. Thankfully, for the world, Churchill came in and England woke up. So yeah, it is funny how you can see people with the talking points of the left demonizing him without any context of his effect on history. This world would be better off if we had another Churchill in England.

Posted by Bradford | Report as abusive

Decades ago when I was a young journalist, I was taught that the media’s responsibility was to open a window to the world to the readers. Our edicts were accuracy, fairness, and relevancy. It was not our job to mirror the biases or perpetuate the misconceptions of our readers.Sadly, the Standard has decided to leave journalism behind and simply embrace populism. The only thing left to believe in newspapers are the advertisements.

Posted by recoveringjournalist | Report as abusive

This type of activity is what is needed to finally destroy the left. The complacency of the average citizen will continue until socialism has boxed them into the corner completely. The USA has now gone over the cliff to socialism, with the election of Obama and his minions. Britain is already at the bottom of that cliff, but seems unsatisfied until the boulders from atop the cliff are piled down to bury them completely. Once the left gets their way completely, the boxed in average citizens will push back to center and return society to what it should be.

Posted by KM | Report as abusive

Amused by the second comment, “let the English discuss this”. Let’s make a deal, then – you guys let the Americans discuss our politics, and we’ll let you discuss yours.And do try to ask in a civil manner, without resorting to your reflexive “oh my god it’s that right wing crowd blah blah blah”.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Oh there goes another illusion I had.I thought Brits were more informed thanAmericans and somewhat less ideologicallybiased.Thanks for the comments. It’s always arelief to dispel illusions.You Brits are just as biased, just as ideologicaland just as wrong headed as we Americans are.Heaven help us all. :(Oh and just fyi our media is pretty much owned by an Aussie right wing oligarch. Our brains are thoroughlywashed by our media too. As for the Texan…try getting anything other than Rush Limbaugh on Texas radio.Clear Channel owns their air down there.Where is George Orwell when we need him.

Posted by jay dee | Report as abusive

In order to stay afloat in this economy you have to fit the news to what the majority deems palatable. Newspapers have to make money. Journalism today must appeal to emotions, not necessarily logic. People have become extremely sensitive and deeply distressed to thoughts or events that may challenge their comfort zone.

Posted by Larry | Report as abusive

I have come to loath reading the British newspapers. They have become just classless gossip, just terrible in format and content. They are more interested in spreading stupid gossip than informing the public about what’s going on in the world. I hope they all go under, as they have started to do in the United States. You are all failing the public trust and will reap the seeds you have sewn very soon.

Posted by KPRO | Report as abusive

So an ex-KGB agent buys a British newspaper and proceeds to make it apologize for being “out of touch?” When is Britain going to realize that it has been completely owned by the Left? It’s pathetic.

Posted by Dimitri | Report as abusive

[…] UK News » Blog Archive » The London Evening Standard says “sorry … […]

Posted by Spend Savers Blog » Blog Archive » Lots of freebies today | Report as abusive

The Evening Standard better be sorry. 05/evening-standard-now-with-orange/ … Even the new design can’t save it.

Posted by Jon Tango | Report as abusive

To Sue:I am not a writer by profession any longer. I edited a small-town newspaper in my distant past.To Cranky Media Guy:It would be lovely to find some semblance of a point in your post with which to skewer you. But I cannot.This I regret, for it would have been immense fun. Regretfully, your post is so banal that I am now bored.Having been raised in other places, I don’t wear a ten-gallon hat. As a matter of fact, hayseed, there isn’t anyone within 100 miles of me wearing one. Ignorant stereotypes die hard.I actually drive an automobile. I can scarcely believe it myself. And to think it was only yesterday that I cleaned out the bunkhouse and got out of the cattle business. My, how the times do change.Most of my neighbors are degreed professionals working for NASA. I develop enterprise business applications. For them.Again…do you have a point? Mmmhmm…I thought not.

Posted by Yankee | Report as abusive

I think that this new change in mangement well increase positive thinking to the usual doom and gloom of the paper.

Posted by Ashley L. | Report as abusive