Monday, 5 December 2016

TIME TO RAISE THE ROOF ABOUT THE LACK OF POLITICAL BALANCE IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS

I have just been out to find a copy of Issue 75 of Coastal View as I have started to advertise for electrical work in it again. It is not distributed where I live but is available from a few reasonably local outlets.

I could not believe my eyes when I looked through it. 17 of its editorial pages had items about the two Labour MPs and various Labour Councillors and that included FIVE full pages and THREE that were at least half pages full of Labour propaganda.

The Lib Dems had ONE item about the possible closure of Laburnum Library sent in by Josh Mason. I accept my item about the proposal to move the books out of Roseberry Library may have been after the deadline for this issue but I understand we sent out a few items that didn't get in.

There are a handful of items concerning Independent Councillors in the popular local paper and a couple of letters from UKIP. Nothing from the Conservatives.

We don't all have the staff paid out of the public purse that MP's have to spend all day writing articles for them but we are involved in quite a lot of things that are just as newsworthy but are ignored by the local media.

Our answer is as always we do the hard work of keeping in touch with our electors ourselves. There are quite a few newsworthy items which go out regularly in my ward newsletter Focus, on this Facebook page, and my blog. They are about local campaigning, holding the Labour Council to account and making proposals for actions that seek to make a difference for local people.

Surely it should not be down to who can afford to pay staff to feed newspapers but it clearly is you know. We no longer have an MP so we expect to have less coverage but what is happening with Labour coverage is not fair at all. Nobody else, as far as I know, is asked to comment on the claims in these Labour biased items.

We do send out press statements as well but very little gets in these days. It seems to me that newspapers no longer even try to provide balanced coverage.

The Gazette, which is Trinity Mirror owned, gave up on balance years ago. They only balance articles critical of Labour but they no longer ask opposition members to quote on items put out by the local Labour Councils.

I am sure it will turn out to be our fault as it always is but I ask myself what would Labour say if one of the other political groups got 17 pages of coverage in one local newspaper? They would raise the roof and never stop going on about it.

1 comment:

Peter Hayes said...

The only good news is local papers web sites are so unreadable because of dynamic and pop up adverts our leaflets might win