Monday, 17 November 2008

A Shot in the Arm for IHT Morale.

When was the last time you can remember a NYT editorial using the work of IHT journalists? Not in a long time.

All good, and good for the brand equity for the IHT (which seems to be being diminshed by the planned wiping from the NYT Company's asset sheet of at a time when frankly I'd have thought they could hardly afford to do such a thing. Have they thought this one through?)

What I find interesting about this editorial are the mixed messages.

The IHT isn't referenced as being owned by the NYT; in the paper NYT and IHT journalists aren't distinguished from one another, in the newsroom it's all talk about intergration and the IHT merely being the global edition of the NYT.

Yet here we have, in terms of brand value, a clear distinction drawn between the IHT and the NYT.

Confused? You should be.

Corruption in Bulgaria and Romania
Sunday, November 16, 2008
When the European Commission decided in September 2006 to admit Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union, nobody pretended they were really ready.
The thinking was that EU membership would keep them safely out of Russia's orbit. There were also hopes that joining the European political mainstream would accelerate their efforts to rein in organized crime and corruption. The latter was a fairly astounding miscalculation.
What actually happened, as Doreen Carvajal and Stephen Castle have reported in detail in the IHT, was that the prospect of billions in EU subsidies only encouraged the criminals to diversify from smuggling and extortion and to burrow into the political and judicial systems - the better to siphon off EU money.
Today, Bulgaria is rated by Transparency International as the most corrupt nation in the 27-nation EU. The country could lose almost half a billion euros in aid that was frozen in July because of fears that it was vulnerable. Romania is also a cause of serious concern.
This state of affairs is devastating at all levels. The Bulgarian and Romanian people badly need the EU's development aid. And the shocking reports of corruption are hardening the resistance of other Europeans to further expanding the EU, thus lessening the chances of Turkey or Ukraine to ever join.
Perhaps most grievously, the spread of corruption through all levels of government and society, as in Russia and some other Balkan countries, makes it far more difficult to eradicate everywhere.
The IHT articles chronicled how those who tried to expose or combat the criminals in Bulgaria were regularly threatened, maimed or killed, and how these crimes routinely go unsolved. The result, the reporters were told, was that people have come to accept corruption as an unavoidable fact of life and have become apathetic about fighting it.
The wrong conclusion would be to close the EU door forever. The right one would be to ensure that those who pass through it are ready and get all the support they need to be full and healthy members.

"Books about cosmopolitan urbanites discovering the joys of country life are two a penny, but this one is worth a second glance. Walthew's vivid description of the moral stress induced by his job as a high-flying executive with the International Herald Tribune newspaper is worth the cover price alone…. Highly recommended." The Oxford Times
'I read A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book.'
Jeremy Irons (actor)
‘Ian Walthew was a newspaper executive with a career that took him round the world, who one day did a mad thing. He saw a for-sale sign on a cottage in the Cotswolds, bought it, resigned and moved in. For the first few weeks he just lay on the grass in a daze. Then he started talking to his neighbours and digging into the rich history of this beautiful part of England. Out of his inquiries grew this affecting and inspiring memoir.What sets it apart from others of its ilk is the author’s enviable immunity to cliché and his determination to love his homeland better than he used to. His elegiac account of relearning how to be an Englishman should be required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country. Financial Times
For more reviews visit

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