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Monday, 14 December 2015

Big story gets small coverage!



It's fascinating to see how the world works, now and then, when one comes into contact with its workings.  We sent the "Archaeology in Wales" story out as widely as we could, to those press contacts that we had, not really expecting the media to pick it up.  After all, party pooper or negative stories that debunk other stories are inherently not that interesting, compared against fantastical tales of heroic deeds having something or other (no matter how remote) to do with Stonehenge.  But two papers have picked up the story:
 
Wales Online (Western Mail)
Why Stonehenge's bluestones 'were moved from Wales by glaciers NOT prehistoric people'
By Rachael Misstear
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/stonehenges-bluestones-were-moved-wales-10591475

Mirror
Were Stonehenge's famous bluestones moved by glaciers and not prehistoric people?
14 Dec 2015
By Rachel Misstear
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/were-stonehenges-famous-bluestones-moved-7008353

I suppose that we will be lucky if we get a dozen media outlets to carry the story -- compared with somewhere approaching 300 for the story pushed out by the university press offices of UCL, Manchester, Leicester etc.  One interesting discovery I made is that if we had tried to distribute our press release via Reuters and the Press Association, that would have cost us around £1000.  Nothing is for free, and they assume that all press releases are distributed because somebody thinks that the payback will be greater than the investment.  So university media relations officers and press offices probably have standing arrangements with the press agencies, costing many thousands of pounds per year.  Presumably they think that "image", "impact" and "enhanced reputations" of employed academics represent a good return on the investments made, in the end, by those of us who are tax payers.

Update:  now on Irish Mirror, Daily Express and Mail Online.  The latter is a particularly full report, mostly correct. Here is the link:

Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3359160/Stonehenge-s-bluestones-NOT-Wales-Archaeologists-war-claim-prehistoric-man-chipped-rocks-site-dragging-140-miles-Wiltshire.html 

 A pity they still insist on referring to us as "archaeologists."

Another update:  now the story is all over the place, with some extraordinary headlines.  Oh dear -- I suppose it was too much to expect that the media would understand -- or try to understand -- what the debate is all about!  And of course some of the writers are putting their own spins on things -- by referring to "feuding archaeologists" and "war" between the opposing factions.........  strange that they should use such words when referring to such an amiable bunch.......

Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/archaeology/12050476/Stonehenge-was-moved-by-glaciers-not-our-prehistoric-ancestors.html

Stonehenge was moved by glaciers - not our prehistoric ancestors
Experts describe a number of different landforms and sediments which can be related to the events of the Ice Age

Express
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/626636/Stonehenge-mysterious-bluestones-glaciers

Mystery of Stonehenge: How the bluestones were moved by GLACIERS not prehistoric people
A NEW report on the archaeological enigma which last week a team of experts professed to have resolved has suggested that Stonehenge's bluestones were in fact moved by glaciers NOT prehistoric people.

Metro
http://metro.co.uk/2015/12/14/no-we-havent-found-the-quarry-where-stonehenge-came-from-new-report-claims-5564496/

No, we haven’t found the quarry where Stonehenge came from, new report claims

Herald
http://www.pembrokeshire-herald.com/18911/bluestone-quarry-findings-questioned/

Bluestone ‘quarry’ findings questioned

Newsline
http://www.newsusauk.com/news/194449-stonehenge-s-bluestones-were-not-made-in-wales-archaeologists-at-war-over-claim-prehistoric-man-chipped-rocks-from-the-site-before-dragging-them-140-miles-to-wiltshire.html

Stonehenge's bluestones 'were NOT made in Wales': Archaeologists at war over claim prehistoric man chipped rocks from the site before dragging them 140 miles to Wiltshire
   
The Independent
Glaciers moved Stonehenge from Wales to Wiltshire, not ancient people, Welsh researchers claim

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/glaciers-moved-stonehenge-from-wales-to-wilshire-not-ancient-people-welsh-researchers-claim-a6774786.html

County Echo
Scientists refute claims site was bluestone quarry

http://www.countyecho.co.uk/article.cfm?id=103085&headline=Scientists%20refute%20claims%20site%20was%20bluestone%20quarry&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2015 

International Business Times
Stonehenge rocks moved by the force of Ice Age glaciers rather than pagans or Druids

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/stonehenge-rocks-moved-by-force-ice-age-glaciers-rather-pagans-druids-1533352 

The Times
Debate rages over Stonehenge "Quarry"
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/life/courtsocial/article4644947.ece



18 comments:

Myris said...

Do show the correspondence for £1000, did they ask up front, a bit rich for our blood where $30 is deemed the correct whinge-threshold.
M

Myris said...

by line by a Miss Misstear sounds more like a page 3 girl than reporter.
What about a pic of you Brian showing off your 6 pack at CRyf with Miss Misstear decorously draped along the picnic table.
You are not trying.
Photo shoot, photoshop. We want the Whoa pics.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

A young man rang me up -- wanted about £600 upfront to handle just one press release -- and that was just for Reuters UK office. Assume about the same for Associated Press -- and probably more again for global coverage. I politely declined.....

BRIAN JOHN said...

I need some training in the fine arts of media work with nice young ladies. I wonder if MPP would lend me his red T-shirt?

chris johnson said...

600 quid is quite a good deal but probably would not buy you much. I spent much more in the past to get a message out. The kind of coverage the archaeologists are buying is expensive. The thing is that the media rely on the reputation of the specialist agents to do a sanity check, Reuters distribution is not for sale to anybody with 600 quid. Let's talk on the phone if you want to spend any money on this but I wouldn't right now; your internet profile is golden and anybody googling rhosyfelin will find you on the first page.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Chris -- advice appreciated. Nah -- I'm not planning to spend any money at all. I don't have an academic reputation to enhance or protect, unlike many others. I'm quite happy being a bloke who pleases a few and upsets a few others.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, the chap on the phone told me they do a sanity check to ensure that complete nutters don't dominate the media with their spurious stories. But even with that sanity check in place, just look what happens all the time.......pure nonsense regurgitated ad infinitum ...... doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?

TonyH said...

Do respond to Nick Wheeler OBE's comment on the Wales Online (Western Mail) site, Brian! Suggest you point him towards this Blog, with its address, too, and you may educate a few in Wales towards your hypothesis.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Must take a look -- Nick was the National Park Officer for many years -- and purely by chance he was also a Durham geographer in my early days there! So now he has an OBE? -- Duw Duw, there's posh. No doubt well deserved.

TonyH said...

Rachael Misstear is West Wales' multi - media editor for Wales OnLine. Suggest you cultivate her carefully, e.g. send her a freebie Bluestone Enigma for Christmas, signed.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Just looked at his comment. Oh dear -- put it down to a poor education......or maybe a poor memory.

TonyH said...

Unable to locate any mentions of THIS Nick Wheeler on - line, using the facts we are presented with, viz his OBE plus his National Park and Durham University credentials.

His comment appeared within the last 90 minutes or less.

Anyway, hope you and he have a good forthcoming exchange of views.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Tony, are you suggesting bribery and corruption here? I thought only archaeologists and politicians did that sort of thing.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

Done already -- yes, I suppose there might be more than one of that name....

TonyH said...

I know a nice young lady who has worked for the Pembs National Park as a planning officer, called Julia Evans. Quite tall, very pleasant, think she may have risen in the ranks there - used to work here in Trowbridge at County Hall, then the District.

TonyH said...

Certainly no bribery or corruption!

Knowledge itself is Power, sufficient unto itself.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Why has nobody bothered to comment on the first photograph showing the almost final days excavation at West Amesbury Henge, not in Wales I think, an ironic hint at bluestonehenge or sloppy journalism.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

I did, Myris. Sent them a message this morning telling them it was "Bluehenge" near Amesbury....... I suspect they had a pile of stock photos and just grabbed a few.