May 27 2012

Harrow Times and the Evershifting Goalposts

Local free paper, the Harrow Times seem to have got themselves in a bit of bother recently over trees, or all things – the irony of a printed newspaper and trees perhaps seems to escaped them.

Following some severe damage caused when a tree or two fell over, the Times’ reporters were all over it like a rash. Soundbites like “cars crushed” and “acccidents waiting to happen” were sprinkled liberally over the pages, followed by some in-depth reporting on how much Harrow spends on it’s tree maintenance.

Watch the goalposts move. Firstly, May 16 at 2.10pm the headline was £1.20 per tree. Barely three hours later, the story had changed: it was now down to 83pa screenshot below from newsnow.co.uk shows the headlines. Fastforward to the end of May, and following a sniffy contribution to the Times’ letter page from Cllr Phillip O’Dell, the figure now hits £11.11 (last image on this page).

You’d hope that they’d edit their article to say that they’d got it, erm, not quite right – but no: history is re-written, and even the URLs for the two articles above simply end up at the latest number. The figure changes – as does now the headline, saying simply that Brent spends more.

Amusingly, the Times’ article says that the events “…prompted the Harrow Times to find out exactly how much Harrow spends on looking after its trees each year.”

We’d suggest they keep on trying. Clue: the answer’s on page 18.


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