Archive for Media

New media in Brighton Pavilion

It is now established that if you’re a candidate standing for election you need a campaign website. For a lot of candidates this is the first thing they think of. Why? Because it is a cheap, resourceful tool in communicating your message to potential voters. It is also important for candidates to have the most attractive website they can get. Visitors to a site need to be taken on a journey, they need to find small pockets of interest that keep them coming back for more.

Nearly all candidates standing for election either maintain a blog or a news content page. This is true for all three main candidates in Brighton Pavilion, Caroline, Nancy, and Charlotte. Out of all of them it is Caroline who updates hers the most, either through her blog or through her campaign news. Both of these are similar but, at the same time, rather different. Caroline’s blog section discusses mainly the campaign trail, her meetings with local associations and the finer points of her agenda for the constituency. Her campaign news, which is updated less often than her blog, provides the press with details of Caroline’s positions and statements, as you would expect from a news section.

It should be noted that Charlotte and Nancy don’t separate the two. For Charlotte, her blog is also her news content page (she does have a ‘media’ page but that hasn’t been updated since January 16th- remember those snowy days?) Nancy, on the other hand, only has her news content, and this is updated a couple of times a week.

Nancy prefers to use twitter to keep her followers up to date with where she is and what she’s doing, using this to great effect. Charlotte, whilst using twitter in a similar vein to Nancy, is also much more personal, perhaps far too personal in her correspondence with her followers, particularly with her Green ones. Whilst Charlotte has a tendency to always ‘@’ Caroline (I think she may have given up by now), many of her tweets meet with immediate response from Greens, partly due to Charlotte’s antagonistic style. Yes, we know that twitter is a world mostly populated by people averse to the Conservatives, but there is something dogged in her chase for Caroline to reply to her tweets.

I think, and most certainly hope, that Charlotte has backed away from this style, especially for her own sake. We have not seen her update nearly as often, neither are her tweets focussed purely on Caroline. Whilst it is too early to say whether this is a tactical change in Charlotte’s social media strategy- perhaps someone has had a quiet word with her- it would be a welcome move if she would tone down on the ‘reply’s and ‘@’s to people who are clearly not going to agree with her.

Brighton Politics Blog, BPB for short, posted a similar article on Brighton Pavilion and new media back in January, go check it out.

By the way, does anybody know if CCHQ is still vetting PPC tweets?

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Giving a platform to bigots

I just came across a brilliant piece over at the Kent News website- the folks who publish the free Kent On Sunday (KOS) newspaper. The blogger has another bash at ‘Immigrants-one rule for us, one rule for them.’

Whilst it is a little dated- 9th July 2009- it’s still an interesting piece as it’s written by a fella who claims in his article that he is ‘black’, ‘born in India’ and ’emigrated legally to the UK many years a go’, and thus cannot in any way have a xenophobic bone in his body. I am going to assume that he is not an ethnic Indian from any part of that country but was born to parents from elsewhere. It should be noted that the article was not written by Simon Robinson, who is the editor of ‘YourMedway’ for KOS Media, but by an anonymous author who claims his piece is a ‘rant.’ The definition of rant is: speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.

Reading down the comments section of the said piece it attracts alot of bigoted, some of which is racist, but of which much is xenophobic. It is also pretty clear that many of thos commenting on the piece fail to realise that any migration from within the European Economic Community (with some exceptions) is legal. They also fail to understand the difference between asylum seekers and economic migrants, and thus fail to understand the histories and motivations of either group.

What all this represents is a failure of local and regional media in confronting bigoted and misinformed opinion. Yes, it is is opinion and not news, but it is still being given a platform none the less. For a while far-right opinion has seen the lack of regulation and self-censorship by editors from local media outlets as an opportunity waiting to be seized. Because local newspapers are experiencing a greater fall in circulation than their national counter-parts editors are increasingly looking towards the sensationalist and populist to boost circulation. Hence why the letters pages of local newspapers are expanding (along with advertisement space) whilst content journalism is being sidelined. All of this is done under the auspicious attempt to brand it as vox populi.

This is why progressives must concern themselves with local and regional media, especially newspapers, particularly those that don’t have a history of political or social commentators and only operate as the equivalent of Parish newsletters. Unfortunately it is the right-wing who are adhereing to Jello Biafra’s turn of phrase, “Dont hate the media, become the media.”

Rant over.

 

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