Readers of this Blog may remember that the Seckford Foundation managed to get an article that Archant published about Beccles Free School removed from their website and then re-written.
Archant claimed that the what happened was that a “mistake” was made in a Press Release sent by Seckford’s PR company Mary Rudd PR. The article was re-written to “correct” the impression that Graham Watson had said that the approval of the Beccles Free School bid was expected before the end of May.
Within a week of this article, exactly as predicted by Watson, came the “news” that the Beccles Free School bid had been agreed by the DfE.
The story was broken by Archant before even Jeremy Rowe the Head of Sir John Leman had been told apparently by a press release prepared by Mary Rudd PR.
Now it might not seem surprising that Mary Rudd and Archant are working together in this way after all they are a PR firm and Archant is just about the only newspaper group in town however it has since emerged that there are some very close links indeed between Mary Rudd PR and Archant. And when I say very close I mean very close.
Mary Rudd PR is run unsurprisingly by Mary Rudd but she seems to have had a bit of help over the years from a number of assistants many of whom have worked for Archant, either at the same time or immediately before/after.
Indeed her current Assistant Emma-Lily Chubb lists her job on business Social Networking site Linked In as a “Brand Development Assistant” at My Money 24 working for Archant. Chubb has however assisted on the Beccles story for Mary Rudd PR whilst apparently working for Archant.
Mary Rudd PR say that Emma-Lily no longer works for Archant and left Archant to work for them but her Linked In profile still shows her working at Archant.
Indeed the links do not stop here as Rudd herself appears to have at least written articles for Archant previously if not worked for them.
But the closest link is even more personal. Mary Rudd’s partner Stephan Phillips was until last year the Managing Director of Archant Norfolk.
Now PR and journalism are obviously very closely linked but in the case of Mary Rudd PR who are acting on behalf of the Seckford Foundation this does raise several questions.
There has to be a concern that the Seckford Foundation are getting “access” to Archant in a way that others might not be.
I am not sure, for example, that if the quote I gave to Archant was printed incorrectly that I could have persuaded them to pull the online editions of the papers and re-write the article. Maybe they would have but I am not so sure.
I contacted Mary Rudd PR several times to ask for a comment on this article or for any corrections to be pointed out. Eventually after my emails were apparently lost I faxed the article through and phoned and was told that Emma-Lily no longer works for Archant as she has left to work full time for Mary Rudd PR.
I was not given any further corrections and was told I would receive a response “in due course” but that they “had other more important work to get on with”. If any corrections are received or any comment I will of course publish them.