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The Laz Word: Rogan Taylor – for free or for fee?

Football prof says Hillsborough TV money request was his way of saying “no”. Larry Neild wonders who exactly in this media circus is doing it all for free

Published on February 14th 2009.

The Laz Word: Rogan Taylor – for free or for fee?

THERE has been a cry of foul over Rogan Taylor’s alleged demand for a fee to take part in a Danish television documentary about Hillsborough.

The Liverpool University academic was instrumental in kicking off the world’s first degree in football, and heads its Football Industry Group which has been involved in carrying out research into the disaster.

He often pops up on radio and television giving his views as a pundit on footie.

In the brave new world of media, many of us are constantly in demand to participate in programmes. Listen to Radio 4 and you will often get journalists interviewing fellow journalists about all manner of issues.

In the past year I’ve been on German and Dutch television, I’ve done interviews with various publications. I got forty quid off the German team, really to buy myself a meal. Not sure how much they pay in German branches of McDonald’s, but £40 worth of double cheeseburgers sounds ok to me.

This year the Hillsborough tragedy is in its 20th anniversary and is sparking widespread media coverage.

Prof Taylor's "crime", according to reports, was to cash in by apparently saying he wanted 500 euros for the interview. The production company accused him of ‘letting down the families of those that lost lives’, an allegation that he has described as “scurrilous”.

I wonder whether the holier-than-thou documentary production team were working for free, insisting all their pay went to the Hillsborough cause? I wonder whether the intended broadcaster, if commercial, would donate its advertising revenue to the same cause? Did the author of the original article in the Sunday Express, titled "The Profit of Death", receive payment and, if so, did he donate it?

The reality is Rogan Taylor’s name has been dragged through the penalty-area

mud, making him seemingly unpopular with some of the spokespeople for Hillsborough.

Not so long ago I was asked to participate in a training film for the PR industry, the aim being to assist press officers to learn from the “other side” what journalists needed and expected from them.

In other words they wanted me to share the tricks of the trade with PR people. For free? When I asked if I would get a fee they were perplexed. I was doing it for the honour of sharing my thoughts with fellow media folk, albeit on the so-called dark side.

I didn’t want to participate in the film because I had my own ways of digging out headline stories and was reluctant to share them. Actually if they had offered to pay I still would have said no, though if the price had been right maybe I’d have made an exception and given them a hint of my secrets.

That doesn’t, in my view, make me a money-grabber or a bounty hunter. Even though I usually do interviews without fee, I feel there is a nominal value.

Prof Taylor says the mention by him of a fee was his way of saying No. I know exactly what he means by that, though in the cold light of day his written demand is providing food to critics.

There are many people who make a handsome living out of commenting on tragedies and misery, though Rogan Taylor is not one of them. He told the papers he was already “doing lots of work on Hillsborough” with no payment: “I wrote a book and all the royalties went to the Hillsborough families. I can defend myself.”

Trouble is, those who have criticised him have scored an own goal: they have risked an independent and often supportive voice for their causes standing on the sidelines rather than fighting their corner. In a nutshell it was much ado about nothing.

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DigFebruary 9th 2009.

You have a lifesize cut-out of a sleeping Joe Riley? That's nothing. I have a real life Pete Price sleeping. Thanks for telling me where to get rohypnol Liverpool Wag. If it wasn't for you he might wake up and talk.

tommoFebruary 9th 2009.

A degree in football is the best idea that thre could be. Liverpool has been held back for too long and suffered terrible unemployment and social deprivation because of Margaret Thatcher.Our children dont need booklearning but practical skills. Maths and english wont win FA cups but a degree in football would go a long way to keeping the unpleasant foreign elements polluting English football.Less schooling and more degrees in football, Wayne ~Rooney should be a visiting professor, his silky skills would be all that is necessary to convince kids that football is worth studying.

CorrespondentFebruary 9th 2009.

Hmm..I was on the Leppings Lane terrace that day so I'm sensitive to any suggestion of financial gain from the disaster. On this occasion I believe Rogan Taylor, although I do think he could have dealt with the situation a lot better. OK, so asking for a few hundred quid was supposed to be a clever way of saying no. I get the point. However, Taylor should have been aware that the production company would have wanted to get back at him. Hence their approach to a no-doubt grateful Sunday Express hack.

Another ProfFebruary 9th 2009.

I am always pleased to see you Liverpool Wag and as I told the magistrate I was just knocking the dust off my tickling stick. Point taken Dig, delete nasty little hacks and insert vile gutter press. Good heavens man, I have a life size cut-out of a sleeping Joe Riley, how could I be anti- journalist? And I once saw Matthew Parris in a cafe and didn't throw cakes at him. Mind you I threw them at everybody else until they ejected me. Didn't have to pay the bill though, so there's a tip for you from me.

DigFebruary 9th 2009.

My apologies Prof. It is easy to see how your comments can be misconstrued. Nasty little hacks is not a term I would imagine any journalist would warm to whether it is directed at them or not.

Another Prof but still the same as same profFebruary 9th 2009.

Dr Moreau. Thank you. I am happy to accept a medical opinion and I agree. Hope your island has not been too badly affected by the recent snow. Please pass on my regards to The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse. Does he need an asterisk?For anyone not aware, The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse was a Hollywood film starring the great Edward G (spot) Robinson. If interested, I am sure you can find Clitterhouse with Halliwells Guide although some men may need help.

DigFebruary 9th 2009.

Meeoww! Put those claws away Editor. Then again, reading Another Profs rant I can see why you would be annoyed. A rather nasty attack on your profession and Mr.Editors profession. You're a bad bad man Another Prof!

Media will eat itselfFebruary 9th 2009.

I suppose the point is how can a whole shower of commercial media people, TV crews and self righteous newspapers, start pontificating about how wrong it is to ask for a fee for something when they are all making money out of it themselves. It's gross hypocrisy

EditorialFebruary 9th 2009.

You do what you like, you all normally do

MediaMogulFebruary 9th 2009.

The media has become one big money thing. It's cos we all want instant news and instant comment and there's a price to pay. It's all about knowing if there is a line to be drawn. I suppose I am agnostic about whether or not Mr Taylor is paid.

Same ProfFebruary 9th 2009.

Dig, as Liverpool Confidential is one of the only reputable upright organs of the local media that I have been able to get my hands on, my comments were directed towards the editorials and copy in the likes of the Nazi Sex and disaster obsessed Tabloid TV and newspapers like the Express, the Mail, and the S*n etc. who delight in peddling and trading on fears and stereotypes when not promoting breast enhancement or murderous foreign policy and domestic divisions. It is therefore neither an attack upon journalism as a profession many of whom I know to be honourable and regularly sober.

Just Woof will yerFebruary 9th 2009.

I hear Ferdi rates the Adelphi food very highly.

Phil M. N. ThewsiastFebruary 9th 2009.

By George the Professor is right! http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0029864/ And it was re-made in 1947 and 1962!

Doctor MoreauFebruary 9th 2009.

Another Prof. - 'minge' is better.

Dr NookieFebruary 9th 2009.

The matter in hand...ooooh Matron!

Another ProfFebruary 9th 2009.

Quite right Liverpool Wag...sod off Dig, getting me into an apologetic lather. I have changed my mind. Nasty little hacks it is. Congratulations Larry, you've done it again. Another of your pieces descends into this. What's your secret?

Liverpool WagFebruary 9th 2009.

There are plenty of good, responsible journalists. Most of them hate the Express and Mail and the like with a passion (I know I do) and know exactly who the nasty little hacks on question are and are happy to call them far worse. Journalists are used to such language. It is only those who actually are nasty little hacks that will take offence as it touches a raw nerve, reminding them of what they have become. Don't worry Dig, the rest are a thick-skinned and affable bunch...

Liverpool WagFebruary 9th 2009.

Is that a tickling stick, Another Prof, or are you just pleased to see me?

Another ProfFebruary 9th 2009.

Don't allow the nasty little hacks to alienate one of the best voices of support. These people would give anything to be able to capitalise on something negative at anytime but especially now with the 20th anniversary. Prof Taylor, as far as I am concerned would be quite justified in asking for a fee. It is not disrespectful to the cause nor is it cashing in. He is a professional man and I presume has to give up much of his personal time to take part in interviews. The real exploitation is the emotional blackmail from the production company and the media who want to fill their own money making items or columns for free whilst they would happily pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for shot or a photo of Kate Moss's fa**y ( do I need to asterisk fanny or is that acceptable?)

FerdieFebruary 9th 2009.

I was treated most delightfully at the Britania Adelphi, even down to some nasty tit bits. My evening was somewaht spoiled when the crowd I was with went on to Kirklands-as-was, a sort of saw-dusted kind of place these days. They chucked me out, so I won't be going there again.

EditorialFebruary 9th 2009.

We are now thinking of playing "guess the story". We list a few random and unrealist rants from the past year or so and, well, you know what the readers have to do. Winner gets a makeover, teeth whitening and the opportunity to take Larry's dog, Ferdi, on a date to the Adelphi. Now, back to the matter in hand...

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