Edward Seckerson, senior music critic of the Independent newspaper in London, has resigned after being threatened with suspension for his online activities.
It appears that Seckerson was accused of conflicts of interest by the paper’s managing director after posting artist interview podcasts that he makes privately and for profit onto the newspaper’s website.
Here‘s an example.
Seckerson made no false claims about the interviews, which also appear on a third-party website. He has acted at all times honourably and without decit.
The Independent, however, is reeling over a range of ethical scandals, the last of which was a plagiarism admission by one of its star columnists, Johann Hari. This may have been the reason for getting tough with the music critic. He, when told of the suspension, resigned from the paper within 24 hours.
The Independent is the poorer for his departure.
It also looks much the sillier. The newspaper is owned by a former KGB officer, Alexander Lebedev, whose considerable wealth and influence has come about by mysterious means. For a newspaper of such dubious provenance to claim the moral high ground over the ethically harmless and genuinely independent activities of one of its arts critics is beyond preposterous.
Sales of the Independent have fallen from a historic high of almost 400,000 in the early 1990s to barely 50,000 today once bulks (or freebies) are taken out. The official circulation is 84,000.
Here is video footage of the newspaper’s owner in polite conversation (he’s the one in the grey suit, watch the hands).