Written by Jeeks
The Daily Record today ran a story containing a well meaning interview with Michelle Gray, the recently bereaved sister of Andrew Gray a tragic victim of Celtic Boys Club monster, Jim Torbett. Unbelievably the Headline writers at the Record blew their one job and introduced Michelle as the sister of her brothers prolonged attacker.
Given her main motivation was to encourage abused youngsters to come forward and ensure them they will be listened to, it could hardly be much more of an own goal and upsetting to a family still coping with loss and a difficult court case.
Michelle has carried herself magnificently throughout this testing time and working towards providing a legacy for her haunted brother who died before he could see justice done.
The article was online for around an hour and a half calling Michelle, the sex offender Torbett’s sister before being eventually pulled and corrected by naming her as the victim’s sister. The Record was advised of the upsetting error no later than 50 minutes from the article being posted and within 5 minutes of a link appearing on Twitter. It remained live on both for around another 40 minutes before eventually being pulled after Michelle herself contacted the Daily Record.
In a conversation just yesterday Roger Mitchell (former journalist and ex-SPL Chief Executive) had made the following observations about the press:
“Here is modern journalism. Young guys get paid peanuts, told to get out 6/7 pieces a day to fill space. They are forced to scrape twitter (where most thought leaders post) for angles. That’s their insight. They cut and paste for 300 words. Rinse and Repeat. Never credit sources.”
Its well known that Daily Record journalists don’t write their own headlines. This is clearly just the latest absurd and upsetting incident of what has become known as churnalism, so Craig McDonald is most likely blameless for the distasteful gaffe.
This site itself suffered from such churnalism from the Daily Record when breaking the news story that the Scottish football team were wearing old kits bearing sponsors names that had ceased to pay them only to have the Daily Record run the same story they day after, dropping the promotion of Child Protection charities that was in the original article. This, ladies and gentlemen is the sad state of modern journalism. Where quantity trumps quality and to find quality you need look beyond a paywall or look very hard indeed.
A fitting tribute to Andrew would be the message that victims of child abuse will be met with understanding, support and more than anything confidence that they themselves will not suffer further. As a nation we need to be working towards a culture in football where such abuse is not seen as fair game for banter and one-up-manship but met with anger at the perpetrators, justified questions asked of those who were in a position to prevent it, desire to see justice served and an acknowledgement that people are far, far more important than the game. Many of these young people felt unable to tell about what they suffered due to homophobia and lad culture being rife at the time. Every club and fan can do their part now to make football a safe environment for those that have become victims. The clubs and SFA are working towards preventative reforms within the fabric of the game but we fans have a role to play in helping build a culture where people can come forward. Give these brave people a lasting legacy and lets change football for the better by having zero tolerance of intolerance and sick jokes.