While sensible commentators continue to consider the implications of last week’s Byron Report on child safety in the digital age, some sections of the British press are already advertising for sensationalist confessions they can serialise across their grubby pages.
Among the endless adverts for successful dieters and people with ‘amazing life stories’, within the magazine and newspaper section of online talent agency Starnow there's currently an advert which reads “Did computer games make you turn to a life of crime?”
Clicking on the link, the advert itself reads: “A national newspaper wants your story and will pay hundreds of pounds to the right person.
“Write a few lines about how computer games turned you to crime and if it's something we like, we'll call you straight back.”
"Tell us what we want to hear"
There’s no mention of which national newspaper is behind the ad, but the insinuation seems fairly straightforward: "tell us what we want to hear and we’ll pay you to print it."
Likewise, there’s no mention of how rigorously the newspaper intends to check the accuracy of any supplied stories, nor is there any indication of how the newspaper proposes to ‘treat’ them either.
However, we’d pretty much bet our houses that any resultant article won’t be in any way an inspired piece of journalism. In fact, it’ll almost certainly turn out to be a complete car-crash of a feature with all the depth and intellectual rigour of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Still, kudos to Kotaku for pointing us in the direction of the advert and pointing out the seedy, underhand machinations of the UK gutter press – such things can never be overstated. The comments from readers below Kotaku's piece are well worth a read too.