Key lobby journalists have told PRWeek that Downing Street communications chiefs have stopped handing exclusives to the Murdoch papers and are less likely than their predecessors to issue bogus denials.
One respected political editor said: ‘They now realise in Number 10 that it’s best to tell things generally rather than favouring one or two papers. I much prefer it this way. They put it out there and you take it, then journalism wins.’
Another lobby journalist on a well-known Sunday paper said: ‘I may not be fed a great story. But if I ask the right questions they won’t deny it, whereas Downing Street previously would do – outrageously so.’
However, it is claimed that preferential treatment is still given to certain political editors while journalists who write negative stories are sent ‘killer’ text messages by Damian McBride, Gordon Brown’s influential special adviser on press.