Complaint to Observer newspaper

Enough already.

It’s bad when a  journalist writes a totally inaccurate story about the Wapping Project closure without checking those pesky fact things.

But when another journalist links to it and so reinforces the initial mistake then people tend to get annoyed. Just because something is on the interwebs it doesn’t mean it is true.

World hunger solved

Press releases from Tower Hamlets Council are treated for the propaganda leaflets that they are, stories in East End Life headlined ‘Mayor Lutfur finds budget money to solve world hunger, solves Syrian crisis on day off’ we treat with a certain level of scepticism.

Most people still look to national newspapers such as The Observer and Daily Telegraph for the truth, even if it may be biased towards the left or right.

So it was disappointing to read an article in the Daily Telegraph which linked to an inaccurate story about the Wapping Project in The Observer.

Below is the text of a complaint I sent to the Readers Editor of The Guardian this morning. I also emailed the Telegraph.

Dear Chris

I wish to formally complain on behalf of the people of Wapping about the accuracy of an article written by Rowan Moore published in The Observer on 1 December 2013 headlined ‘The Wapping Project: our obsession with house prices will turn our cities into cultural deserts’ .

When we read this there was surprise that the Observer could publish such an inaccurate story. Fellow local bloggers undertook basic journalism practise and checked the facts. You can read the main rebuttal here in a post on ‘What’s in Wapping’ that in turn used facts checked by another local blog: .

It is clearly evident from the work undertaken by local unpaid bloggers that the Rowan Moore article has no basis in fact. But of course because it was published in a national newspaper most readers believed the opposite. After publication the article was extensively shared on social media. In an effort to redress the balance I responded to many tweets with a link to the Whats in Wapping story and was heartened by the response from Observer readers who read the Whats in Wapping story and apologised for believing the Observer.

Then this morning my attention was drawn to this story in the Telegraph by Alex Proud which links to the Moore story and propagates the inaccuracies yet again. I will be contacting the Telegraph separately.

Bottom line is that as long as the Moore story is on the internet people will consider it to be the truth because it is on the Guardian / Observer website. But it is not the truth.

So we would like this fixed please. At the moment we have enough problems in Tower Hamlets without trusted news sources making life difficult as well.

I do not know what the normal procedure is for issues of this nature. To be honest as the Moore article is completely wrong and he denigrates the residents of Wapping I think most people would like it removed.

I look forward to your response and can be contacted as below.

Yours etc,


Will update on response.

And many thanks to What’s in Wapping and Pootling Around for checking those pesky fact things.

You never know, it might catch on.

Amended 13:20  09 April 2014. Got confused between The Guardian and The Observer – share the same site but are different newspapers apparently. So have changed ‘Guardian’ above to ‘Observer’. Should really check my facts before publishing. But as the Observer story is on a URL which starts with ‘’ no wonder I get confused.


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