Anorak News | 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.jpgMADDYWATCH – 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.


THE distraught mum of missing schoolgirl Shannon Matthews last night cried: “All I want for Mother’s Day is my princess back.”


Shannon Matthews’ desperate mother last night movingly declared: “All I want for Mother’s Day is my princess back.”As police continued searching thousands of homes for the missing nine-year-old schoolgirl, mum Karen, 32, said: “It is a special family day and we would all spend it together.

“Shannon would usually buy me a present or make me something at school.”

Stepfather Craig Meehan, 22, added: “It is going to be a heartbreaking Mother’s Day.”

LIVERPOOL ECHO: “Where’s media cry for poor Shannon?”

HOW disturbing that 10 days after Shannon Matthews disappeared, we still know so little about her. Her favourite band? The school she attends? The name of her best friend? All details that should be on our lips but aren’t.

But we do know her favourite song.

Somehow the vanishing of this little girl with her pony tail and fringe has failed to capture the media’s imagination; a story regularly consigned to the inside pages.

Why? Why do some cases attract saturation coverage and others don’t? I suspect it’s down to image, which stands for everything, and the skill now needed to work the notoriously fickle media.

Madeleine McCann’s parents have been criticised for employing a professional PR and for playing the media game, providing photo opportunities and press calls. But it’s paid dividends. The world now knows their daughter’s name and what she looks like.

Shannon’s mum can be no less distraught than Kate, but whether she has the support or the finance to get a media campaign on the road is doubtful.

But at the end of the day there is a little girl out alone in a harsh, cold world. And we should all be working together to get her home.

What part does the media play in finding a missing child? Don’t we have the police to search for Shannon and crack the case?

THE OBSERVER (Blog): “Speaker gets new spin doctor”

A Whitehall spin doctor who was a spokeswoman for Madeleine McCann’s parents has been hired to help the Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, deal with the media, it was announced today.

Not Campbell?

Sheree Dodd is an experienced communications expert who worked for John Prescott at the time it was revealed he was having an affair with his diary secretary.

Just another job…

Madeleine McCann- The PR Storm

Posted: 1st, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (798) | TrackBack | Permalink