Anorak | Madeleine McCann: What Shannon Matthews Is Worth, Asda And PR

Madeleine McCann: What Shannon Matthews Is Worth, Asda And PR

by | 1st, March 2008

shannon-matthews-1.jpg MADDYWATCH Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann and Shannon Matthews

THE SUN : “£20k reward in Shannon hunt”

THE Sun yesterday offered a £20,000 reward to find missing “little princess” Shannon Matthews.

Good on the paper. But does a reward help? Has it helped Madeleine Mccann? And why £20,000 when Madeleine McCann garnered so much more ? Is a reward index linked to the missing child’s age? Or is it because Shannon’s parents are not middle-class not doctors and smaller amounts mean more to them?

We also printed posters urging our vast army of readers to help in the hunt for the nine-year-old schoolgirl. And last night her anguished mum Karen, 32, said: “I’m so grateful for all you are doing. It’s a fantastic gesture and means so much to us. We just hope it brings her back.”

Then, hugging Shannon’s stepdad Craig Meehan, 22, she added: “Our message to people is never give up . . . because we won’t until we find her.”

THE TIMES : “Poor little Shannon Matthews. Too poor for us to care that she is lost?”

“Her family may seem feckless. Neighbours can’t afford to run a PR campaign. How the public spotlight faded on missing girl.”


Sarah Payne, smiling in her school uniform; Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, in their Manchester United shirts; Madeleine McCann, staring inquisitively with her distinctive bleeding iris . . .The names and faces of these girls who have disappeared are etched into the public’s collective memory.

Camera crews camped out in their home towns for weeks or months. Donations totalled thousands even millions of pounds. Members of the public, many of them strangers, came in their hundreds to offer help and prayers for their safe return.

Yet the trauma and mystery surrounding the disappearance of one nine-year-old girl almost two weeks ago appeared to drift from public consciousness within days…

She’s not Madeleine McCann. No doctors. No logo . No Maddy Catty . No watching the parents . The media treatment is no fault of the McCanns. But are we bored of missing children stories. Have the press caught Maddy fatigue?

Contrast the media-savvy McCann campaign with the brave efforts of Petra Jamieson, 30, a friend of Shannon’s mother, who managed to persuade her local branch of Asda to donate 24 white T-shirts on which the girl’s photograph had been printed.

What happened to Shannon Matthews? Who can we blame? The parents?

A deprived background, a dysfunctional family and a down-on-its-luck Yorkshire mill town: none of this is Shannon Matthews’s fault, yet it seems that she is paying the price.

No holiday scene. No excuse for hacks to go to hotter climes. Yorkshire in winter. Grey. Grim.


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Posted: 1st, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (798) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink