DIARY: Negative press follows media groups to the top of the PR Wars charts

The media sector has been left nursing its reputational wounds after giants Granada, Carlton Communications and their joint venture, ITV Digital, suffered a major image battering last month.

According to the latest instalment of PR Wars - a battle between the best and worst performing corporates in the national press - the media groups were among the ten most negatively covered companies.

The monthly league, compiled exclusively for PRWeek by monitoring and evaluation service PressWatch, reveals ITV Digital bagged an impressive - 2,906 points, only just beaten by embattled accountancy firm Andersen and rebranded postal group Consignia, with -3017 and -2193 points respectively.

The figures, produced by a formula that takes account of positive and negative comment on all firms appearing in UK nationals since January, shows fashion chain Next receiving the best press overall in March with a score of 867, thanks to the announcement of impressive financial results.

The overall winner at the end of 2002 will win dinner for ten at Vinopolis, with the losers receiving a group ticket to the Tower of London.

Marks & Spencer PROs are still on course for this jolly as they maintained their overall lead with 1,571 points. The firm is followed by Northern Rock in second (1,154), then Next, with Fidelity fourth (758) and online bank Egg in fifth (672).

Last month's rankers BhS Ryanair and easyJet lost their top ten positions, nudged out by investment firm M&G, ABN Amro and BMW.

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