Yesterday Mr Monkey revealed that editor of the Shields Gazette and chair of the Northern region of the Society of Editors, John Szymanski had complained to council leader Iain Malcolm about the contents of a newsletter that criticised the Gazette’s less then healthy relationship with the ruling Labour group. CLICK HERE.
This chimp can now confirm that Mr Szymanski has brought his profession into disrepute by attempting to silence his critics. Unfortunately his actions have made a mockery out of his so called commitment to free-speech and has raised some serious questions about his integrity and judgement as well as his suitability to continue as a editor of the once proud Shields Gazette.
It seems that Mr Szymanski took exception to the following statement published in the spring edition of the Independent newsletter for Westoe:
WITH ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY why is our local rag not full of accounts of all the questions, discussion and debate raised by the Independent Alliance? It has been suggested that the Gazette has become part of the Malcolm Fanzine Cavalcade. Since Cllr Iain Malcolm stepped out of the shadows and took on the role publicly that he has always had, leader of the Council, the editor of the Gazette is seen more often at the jollies previously mentioned than the Mayor! The Alliance has no need to depend upon the Gazette for reporting its activities, we can do it ourselves. As you know we distribute newsletters four times a year, produce special leaflets for specific issues e.g. Gypsies Green and the disappearing ballot boxes, knock on doors and talk to people throughout the year and hold public meetings. Never the less, it is sad to think that free press is not that free and has been bought for an onion baghee from the buffet!
… apparently the truth hurts.
A source close to Iain Malcolm has confirmed that he alerted Mr Szymanski to the article who in turn was so incensed by the critiscim he faced that he contacted the council leader to see if there was anything he could do about it. Councillor Malcolm told him there was nothing he could do officially and that the best course of action would be for him to make a formal complaint to the local Standard’s Board. Councillor Malcolm explained the process in more detail and even told him which sections to quote in his complaint.
Mr Monkey can now reveal that John Szymanski has complained to the Standard’s Board about councillor Jane Branley whose name was on the newsletter and that following a confidential report to a sub committee the matter will now be investigated further.
What councillor Malcolm didn’t tell John Szymanski was that when a complaint is made to the Standard’s Board the person who the complaint is lodged against is told who made the complaint. Poor Mr Szymanski thought he was making an anonymous complaint and that no one would find out about it, least of all councillor Branley and especially his own staff – nothing could be further from the truth.
Mr Szymanski’s desperation to silence his critics and his willingness to please his paymaster has back fired and he has been labelled a hypocrite with no integrity. He’s also become the laughing stock of his profession – but worse is to come.
Mr Monkey will be contacting senior managers staff at Johnston Press in Edinburgh and will be sending hard copies of this post to every member of the Society of Editors and not just in the North East.
Mr Monkey has also learned that a further 20,000 newsletters containing the same article have been distributed in Hebburn South, Whiteleas, Biddick and All Saints, Horsley Hill and Whitburn and Marsden - apparently there’s more to follow.
Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how Mr Szymanski is going to explain this latest in a long line of gaffes to his senior managers?