Reaction to the elected mayor vote in Bristol – various
Well done Bristol for bucking the national trend and voting decisively, if in small numbers, in favour of an elected mayor to lead the city from November. They were the only city to vote yes to the proposal following a pretty low-key campaign on the issue. The Centre for Cities has published some links on the issue, while the Bristol Post’s coverage of the result and early indication of who the runners and riders for Bristol’s first elected mayor has been well-informed, detailed and sharp, as good local journalism should be. Whether the result was an endorsement of the proposal or due to more negative factors is open to question, which The Guardian poses in its leader on the issue today. Having followed the debate, I’m sure many people voted yes because the current council leadership was against the idea. Anti politics and apathy were the biggest winners this week, but all is not lost. Hopefully a new way of doing things in Bristol will start to change that.
Elections – ‘We the council’ – Kevin Jump
‘Webist’ Jump provides insight into the information provided by council websites about this week’s local elections. He concludes that interest in the local elections is high and the correct information is available, but is not entirely useful and lacks focus on the needs of local users. A number of websites in the area I cover at work are included in the survey.
- Yes or no? (bristolculture.wordpress.com)
A new acronym hit the media today, with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (or NPPF), which doesn’t really trip off the tongue but has set them wagging all the same.
The new system, announced today, sets out proposals to simplify planning, which is seen by the Government as vital in creating sustainable and thriving communities in this country.
It was debated on the radio early this morning as I drove to Hampshire, and on the way home at the end of the day. And it has had a variety of reaction from the Conservative-supporting Telegraph, which has campaigned against elements of the changes, to The Guardian, which has been more sanguine today.
You can read the documents behind the headlines and make up your own mind about it.
I’d like to share with you two views on our Freedom of Information legislation, which is the subject of some serious discussions about its future use.
The Guardian has today published a leader in defence of the Freedom of Information Act, saying that any proposed move to restrict its application would be ‘a retrograde step’.
This is in response to Parliamentary considerations on possible reform of the Act and mentions a report from the Ministry of Justice into the volume of requests dealt with by Government departments. It’s interesting that the leader states that the report suggests dealing with FoI requests is ‘increasingly onerous’, when no such language is used in the document.
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The Guardian’s readers’ editor on…the presumption of innocence and the reporting of arrests
I am a fan of The Guardian’s readers’ editor column, which analyses the paper’s judgements and explains them to readers who’ve often been moved to criticise it. Today’s column looks at recent reporting of high-profile arrests, which have later seen suspects released without charge but not before they’ve been identified first. Cases such as Christopher Jefferies (which I’ve blogged on recently) and, more recently, Rebecca Leighton have raised huge doubts about the way the media appears to rush to judgement in its reporting of some crimes. This piece explains some thinking behind these judgements – although it’s worth asking whether The Guardian would have needed to give the story of Rebecca Leighton’s release ‘due prominence’ had it not named her in earlier reports immediately following her arrest.
Classic front page, featuring F1 boss Max Mosely
I’ve followed the unfolding phone hacking saga with interest over the last couple of years, since The Guardian first broke the story, and with amazement as the crisis escalated to claim The News of the World, which has been culled today.
It’s an amazing story, which everyone has commented on but no-one connected with it – including those of us who buy tabloids without complaint – comes away completely untarnished.
It’s a struggle to think of anything original to say about what’s happened this week; but, hey, here’s a couple of thoughts, based on my own experience and feelings.
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The irony of The Guardian’s piece yesterday about a new website which exposes the extent to which news items are lifted from press releases is that (fascinating though it is) it is hardly ‘newsworthy’ that this happens.
The Media Standards Trust’s Churnalism website allows readers to paste press releases into a ‘churn engine’ and receive a rating which shows the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material. It’s a very clever way of highlighting the issues surrounding the interface between journalism and PR, which is often portrayed as undermining the very fabric of democratic discourse in this country.
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