News Shopper signs up the Paedofinder General

“By the powers invested in me by an ill-thought through front page on the Bromley News Shopper…”

The above image is doing the rounds on Twitter this morning. Sadly, it’s no spoof, but the actual front page of last week’s Bromley edition of the News Shopper. I’m not sure which is dumber – the scaremongering front page or the idiot NIMBYs featured within. I wonder if anyone at the News Shopper’s Petts Wood HQ was a fan of Monkey Dust?

The online story is more measured, but the News Shopper should really be asking itself why it’s giving credibility to the very worst kind of scaremongering.

This is the same paper whose poorly-resourced Greenwich edition has largely abandoned any serious reporting about the area, leaving the way free for a council propaganda paper to fill the gap. Oh, and who rewarded the writer of a homophobic rant with a “star letter” prize.

I’d always thought the News Shopper was much more comfortable in its Bromley heartland (the paper was formed in Orprington in the 1960s) – but it seems to be trying its best to lose all credibility there too. Across SE London, we need proper, rigorous local journalism – but it’s increasingly clear that one paper has decided to opt out of that job.

Even when it does dip its toes in some proper reporting, such as covering the woes of Ferrier Estate residents threatened with eviction by Greenwich Council, that credibility is undermined by some of the cretinous comments on the website…

“Erastus” is no ordinary troll, by the way – he’s rewarded with his very own blog, where he merrily condemns another place in the paper’s circulation area as “Scabby Wood“.

Oh yes, and a further charming comment on the Ferrier residents’ plight appeared just after this post was first published. Why does the News Shopper think this kind of crap adds to the story?

Is there any other paper that holds the area which it claims to serve in such contempt?

See also: Tabloid Watch, Londonist and Bitter Wallet. Hat-tip: @mattuk.


  1. Erastus looks like a lazy journo who believes the only way to get recognition is to be ‘contentious’ and ‘challenging’ … to be honest he comes across as a prat.

  2. I like how the whole “Paedo” fear seems to rest on one couple:

    Shariff and Hussaina Syed, aged 69 and 61, live next door to number 5, and they fear paedophiles could move into the flats overlooking the property to be close to the children.

    Aged 69 and 61? Aren’t they a little old to be threatened by this possibility?

    I mean, here’s the glitch I find. Assume for a moment that this threat is real. That there are children could attract predators of, wait for it, children. Those children could exist elsewhere and the supposed threat of the predators would likely move with them. So clearly the couple isn’t concerned that there are such predators, only that they may live in *their* neighborhood, which means that couple is personally threatened… uhm, somehow.

    I think the senility of the couple is contagious, and took hold over the “journalist” reporting their comments as headline items. Or worse, the journalist actually planted the words into their mouths with leading questions.

  3. There was an astonishing story, even by the News Shopper’s standards on their website last week. The gates to an electricity substation in – wait for it – Petts Wood had been left unlocked. This was presented as a massive open goal for terrorists. The story was substantially toned down a few hours later to be rather less sensational.

  4. They also managed to call the Greenwich Hotel – the old fire station next to the Woolwich Road flyover – “derelict” in a story last week. It’s still open for business.

  5. Yes, but I’ve often wondered what sort of business that hotel attracts. Not the most appealing location.

  6. It’s mostly long-term residents. (Some of whom could be classed as “derelict”, mind.) I knew an Italian student who lived there in the mid-90s, I was speaking to someone last week with a pal who lives there.

    It’s no grimmer a location than motorway-side Travelodges, etc. Hey, some people even live in houses there!

  7. That blog is bizarre: he uses it to rant about the paper’s own readers. Oh, and he apparently hopes they’ll all require hospital treatment, which seems a little unkind: ‘Surely, if you live in the Bexley area, you will have been treated at Queen Mary’s at some time in your life (or or will be, hopefully)’.

  8. In contrast last week’s Greenwich Mercury had several reports from the 27th October Greenwich Council meeting which is probably more than Greenwich Time has managed in its entire existence. Well done.

  9. […] first time Southeastern failed its customers in the snow. It didn’t learn the lessons.) 7. News Shopper signs up the Paedofinder General (9 November) (South-east London’s loopiest local paper provokes more head-scratching.) 8. […]

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