Here are The Media Blog's very unofficial end of year awards...
'Scoop Of The Year' 2011:
The New Statesman wins one of the few honourable awards in this rundown of 2011's highs and lows for Hugh Grant's sting on former News Of The World journalist Paul McMullan (The Bugger Bugged, April 2011). Nick Davies' leg work over at The Guardian won him Media Hero Of The Year for 2011, but Grant's one article did much to take the phone hacking story to a whole new level. It was the second time Grant had met McMullan and the actor took advantage of an open invitation to visit McMullan's pub in Kent, when asked by New Statesman guest editor Jemima Khan to come up with some content for her issue. From the pictures below, it's clear which one was taken when Hugh Grant knew payback for the deeds of McMullan and his tabloid peers and employers was imminent:
The 'Non-Story Of The Year' 2011:
2011 was the year when the Daily Mail's pursuit of the BBC stretched as far as making up a story about a BBC-wide ban on the use of AD and BC dates. The Mail desperately flogged this particular dead horse over the course of multiple articles, to the embarrassment of all onlookers.
The 'Media Blunder of the Year' 2011:
It's been a year of blunders but none was bigger or more widely relished than the Daily Mail publishing an entirely fictitious article about Amanda Knox losing her appeal against murder - the problem, Knox actually won her appeal and cleared her name. This minor detail didn't stop the Mail reporting:
Amanda Knox looked stunned this evening after she dramatically lost her prison appeal against her murder conviction...As Knox realized the enormity of what judge Hellman was saying she sank into her chair sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears.
The 'Phone It In' Award for Uninspired Editorship:
This year the Daily Star lead with Ryan Giggs on its front page on 14 consecutive days, with a story many people were tired of even before the papers were allowed to report it. Highly Commended: The Daily Express for its heavy rotation of "miracle cures", health scares and weather related 'news'.
The 'Johann Hari Award' for Misleading Readers 2011:
This year Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips truly excelled herself with an article about how penguins could turn children gay. She topped-up this level of apparent stupidity with her continued insistence that Muslims have made us all celebrate "Winterval" and perpetuating the nonsense about the BBC banning AD and BC. Highly Commended: Johann Hari.
Hypocrite of The Year 2011:
Not content with being the editor of The Sun who presided over that paper's most hateful and hurtful dalliance with fiction, MacKenzie actually picked this year to start lecturing others about ethics. To add insult to injury he even claimed Rupert Murdoch was the real victim of the phone hacking scndal. Fortunately most people stopped listening to MacKenzie many years ago.
The 'Utter Nonsense' Award 2011:
Despite writing for a mature and well educated audience it seems The Telegraph still lives in fear of printing swear words that might offend its delicate readers. That's all well and good, of course until a story comes along about which swear words people can or can't say to the police. At that point the Telegraph published a story which claimed:
"Courts do not accept that police officers are caused harassment, alarm or distress by words such as ----, ----, -------, or ------."
If you say so.
The 'My Eyes! My Eyes!' Award for Horror 2011:
If you ever wanted to be haunted by the image of Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones stealing sperm from a discarded condom and trying to inseminate herself on the bathroom floor, then November held a real treat in store. If however you're a well adjusted human being then it was probably one of the most awful things you've ever read. Highly Commended: The infamous dancing end credits from BBC's This Week.
'TV Low Point of the Year' 2011:
Put Matthew Wright and Channel 5 together for any length of time and the end product is bound to be crass and awful, but at least relatively few people are watching. However, when Amanda Knox was cleared of murder and Wright decided to ask viewers if they'd still have sex with Knox - during a section called 'Foxy Knoxy: Would ya?" they managed to plumb an all new low:
Highly Commended: Red Or Black, Channel 4 Athletics, Celebrity Big Brother.
TV Presenter Of The Year 2011:
Matt Baker did a lot to raise money for Sport Relief this year but he will be best remembered as the presenter who asked David Cameron how he can sleep at night. Anybody who thinks this was scripted would do well to listen to Alex Jones, his co-presenter, and her sudden intake of breath when he asks the question:
The 'David Mitchell Award For Over-Saturation on TV:
Anybody channel hopping on a Friday or Saturday night could be forgiven for thinking some horrific accident had robbed Britain of all comic talent except for affable Geordie Sarah Milican. The only other explanation is that there is more than one Sarah Milican. Special Commendation: David Mitchell.
TV Ad of the Year 2011:
Nando's inspired, though slightly controversial advert featuring an array of dead dictators certainly got noticed around the world despite originally being made for the South African market: