Column: Drowning in a tide of tabloid trivia

Opinion

Column: Drowning in a tide of tabloid trivia

The channel keeps showing up in the tabloid press for all the wrong reasons, argues Billy MacInnes.

If there's one thing that gets the goat of people in the IT industry, it's the lack of recognition. Successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, who have built and grown strong businesses by either developing or selling and supporting IT equipment - you know, the stuff that's supposed to be at the forefront of the new modern economy that is the UK -  rarely make it into the national papers.

To some degree it's an indictment of society today that they aren't prominently featured in newspapers and TV series, held up as examples for the youth of today, but instead are displaced in the public consciousness by so many talentless Z-list celebrities and their recent carrying ons with other talentless Z-listers or the latest details of their fight to lose weight.

How can we put IT centre stage and emphasise its importance to the future success of UK plc if the people can so easily be distracted by a picture of an unfortunate frock choice by this week's latest "model"? Where there should a focus on enterprise and business acumen, instead we see trivia, mere trivia.

Even when IT leaders do make it into the pages of papers of middle England's consciousness, such as The Mail or The Mail On Sunday, it's not for their business success. Sadly no. Instead it's for their previous marriage to the woman who then went on to marry and divorce Paul McCartney, or being acquitted of false accusations of carrying out a violent sex attack on a woman in his kitchen.

Note that in both instances, neither gentleman's experience in the IT industry was highlighted in the headlines.

Now, we get Transputec boss Rickie Sehgal featured in the Mail On Sunday, this time in connection with claims that he can get David Cameron's mobile phone number to potential donors for £10,000. My first thought was: that sounds a bit expensive, he could probably get it a lot cheaper if he asked one of the newspapers to put him in touch with one of their "detective friends".

Anyway, Sehgal has now rowed back on his comments, saying it was all a misunderstanding and that he was "boasting...David Cameron and I don't really know each other".  But here's the kicker for me. If you look at the headlines there isn't a single mention of his involvement in the IT industry. Says it all really.

This was first published in January 2012

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