Media Relations: What The Papers Say - Fear mounts for future of Rover

Headline writers had a field day when DTI-led talks in Shanghai on the future of MG Rover 'stalled' because of Chinese fears of a pensions black hole.

But the story left copywriters bereft of quotable sources from the main protagonists, although The Sunday Times found an un-named DTI official who described the task as 'a very difficult brief with little ammunition' (3 April).

Reuters used the phrase 'end game' to describe how close the Longbridge company has come to bankruptcy, with 6,000 direct jobs and another 20,000 in the components industry at risk.

There was finger-pointing at the Phoenix Group directors who bought Rover from BMW for £10 in 2000. They were accused of 'milking the struggling company for their own pay and pensions, and being unwilling to dig deeper into their own resources'.

The Government, while saying a bridging loan of £100m was still on the table, was portrayed as terrified of a backlash in marginal Midlands constituencies as the general election looms.

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk.

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