Journalism Kill Albom? The editor of the Detroit Free Press found herself in an ultimately impossible situation over a review of a book by Mitch Albom, one of her staff writers. Sensing it might not be an entirely valid position for one of his colleagues to review the book, she farmed it out to a freelancer -- who then proceeded to write an unmercilessly negative review. Left with the choice of publishing and looking like she was trying to be an apologist, she killed the review. Which then ment she was open to the criticism that she'd not printed the piece because it was criticising a colleague. Using her paper's columns section she gives her right to reply.

This kind of conflict is on the increase as larger media organisations offer so many strands. There wasn't anything more disconcerting than the BBC covering it's own day in court during the Hutton Enquiry, and The Today Programme having to report dispassionately the reports which were being levelled at it. On a smaller scale, it's always been vaguely stupifying in Doctor Who Magazine (which I can talk about because the timelord is suddenly another word for cool. Yes it is) in their review section, that the small team who work there will variously describe new output as bland, average or disappointing, and the writer of the book or audio adventure under consideration actually works on the magazine or give frequent interviews. Thick skins all around. [vi aj]

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