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July 16 2010

11:00

Currybet.net: Will social media’s influence on political engagement continue post-election?

The Guardian’s Martin Belam has produced a great summary of the panel debate at the launch of Nic Newman’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) paper on social media and the election, on his site currybet.net.

The research document, titled ‘UK Election 2010, mainstream media and the role of the internet’, outlines the significant role social media, in particular Twitter, played in informing the public during the election process.

One of the big questions which emerged from the panel debate was whether this social media engagement would continue now the election is over:

People need something to be engaged with. It remains to be seen whether the major parties will continue with digital campaigning, or whether, rather like leaflets, we will see a lot of them at election time and not much in between.

Outlining the main findings, Newman reportedly told the audience that Twitter became a “political newswire” as well as having a direct impact on the behaviour of politicians.

Reports Belam:

The best of the social media – jokes, spoof posters, reaction on Twitter – was reflected and amplified by the mainstream media. This ultimately influenced the behaviour of the politicians. David Cameron, for example, toned down his habit of citing anecdotal stories of people he met after it was spoofed online.

(…) William Hague announcing he was about to go back into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats via Twitter suggesting the service was beginning to be used as ‘a political newswire’.

See Martin Belam’s full post here…Similar Posts:



June 30 2010

07:54
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May 07 2010

14:42

#ge2010: Times experiments with news and polls tracker

As part of its election coverage the Times attempted to chart the relationship between the news agenda, represented by Times reports and articles, and the political parties’ perfomances in the polls.

It looks like this:

And works like this:

Each bubble in the above graph is a news story. Its size reflects the number of comments it received on our site, and its position (on the y axis) indicates the number of recommendations the story received. (The basic idea here is that, the higher and larger the bubble, the more ‘important’ the news story, assuming that larger, more important stories tend to get commented on and recommended more.) Colours show to which party a story relates. The lines show (depending on the tab) either Populus polling results, or the number of seats the parties were predicted to win during the campaign based on Ladbrokes odds, which are used elsewhere on the site.

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11:55

#ge2010: Election Night review – a night of TV drama starting in Northern Ireland

Broadcast journalism lecturer at Coventry University John Mair reviews last night’s election coverage from the BBC from his post in the broadcaster’s Northern Ireland election newsroom:

Lunchtime Friday and still no clear answer. The British people have spoken but in a divided way. The politicians are wriggling to get advantage or cling on to power (you decide). The most exciting election campaign of modern times has been followed by the most exciting night of election drama of modern times.

Nowhere was the drama greater than here in Northern Ireland where I was working on election night – the other election, often ignored by those ‘across the water’. First casualty, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson whose 31-year stint as MP for East Belfast ended in stunning defeat by a woman of the centre – Naomi Long of the Alliance Party. Robinson has had an annus horibbulis having to face television investigations announcing his wife’s affair and, after that, his own land dealings came under scrutiny. Last night was his nadir. He rushed to the count at Newtonards Leisure Centre, spoke briefly to the local media and was then ushered out. Now he has gone to ground to lick his wounds and fend off predators.

The Robinson moment was magic telly: milked by the local outputs, but less so by the networks. They wanted more of Lady Sylvia Hermon, who defected from the Unionists when they joined with the UK Conservatives. The Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) were seen off in what should have been their heartland North Antrim by Ian Paisley Jnr – brands are as important in politics as anywhere else. He and father – who preceded him in the seat for 40 years – showed their contempt for the TUV by singing the national anthem before his victory speech. Worse for ‘moderate’ Unionism, Sir Reg Empey lost out in South Antrim to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The planned Tory beachhead in Northern Ireland became a washout. It was a media confection.

The BBC Northern Ireland Election programme ran for seven-plus hours using all the 18 counts at eight locations as their prime material. Down-the-line interviews galore at the outside broadcasts based on deep local knowledge. The local commercial station – Ulster Television – did not even make it to the starting line. No election news between 10:30pm and 09.30am. That did not go unnoted by fellow hacks.

The BBC’s ‘Dimbleby programme’ had a magnificent set on its side and some pretty special Jeremy Vine virtual reality graphics too – my favourites being the Downing Street staircase or the House of Commons with real faces smiling and nodding. Modern Television journalism is about entertainment and keeping it simple. Nowhere more so than in the use of electronic graphics. All of that plus live reporting from many of the big beasts of telly journalism. It’s fascinating to see how many of them still used the basic journalistic skills, like Kirsty Wark doorstepping/walking besides and interviewing Nick Clegg on the hoof on the way to his count.

It’s difficult from inside my bubble to know how the drama played out in the nations. It certainly kept us rapt in this television control room. You could not have written the script. But the 2010 General Election story has not yet reached its final chapter. Plenty more drama to come…

Read John Mair’s report from the BBC’s TV ‘hub’ in Belfast on the build-up to election night.

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May 06 2010

13:53

#ge2010: How to follow election day online

As live events go, election night has to be one of the biggest opportunities for journalists and news organisations to get tweeting, liveblogging, mapping and more. Here’s our guide to the best online coverage of election day and plans for tonight’s results, as we look at what journalists’ can learn for future live events and how readers (and voters) are being kept informed:

Produced in associated with Channel 4 and the New Statesman, Guardian.co.uk’s election coverage features a map plotting voter turnout. It’s reliant on people tweeting when they’ve voted with the first half of their postcode and the #ukvote hashtag, but gives a good real-time picture of where the votes are coming in from.

The goal of the experiment is to inspire more people to vote and to help get a sense of turnout during the course of the day and across the country. Channel 4 News is also trying to gauge turnout using a poll as part of its election day liveblog, which dominates its homepage today.

The Guardian has also changed the layout of its homepage to incorporate more election coverage – particularly like the way it highlights the latest updates from its election day liveblog as part of the top stories box.

Ahead of tonight’s results the Telegraph has a handy guide to when constituencies will be declaring and which party is targeting which seats.

The BBC has its live page up and ready for tonight and is promising to use all its multimedia resources to boost its online coverage, with a liveblog of the results for those following online and on mobile and streams of the best radio and TV footage from the BBC via the website. Particularly nice is the slideshow of how to vote – the practicalities not which party to vote for and the option to download an election night party pack.

As part of extensive election night coverage online, Sky News has a handy, hour-by-hour guide of what happens on election day and has Facebook chat around the election added to its liveblog, so users can post status updates from the Sky site.

The Financial Times is hosting an election special on its Westminster blog for election day; while the Times’ group blog Election ‘10 is worth a mention for today’s blow-by-blow coverage and its offering of analysis, news and commentary throughout the election campaigns, balancing live and need-to-know with deeper commentary.

The Liverpool Daily Post has an excellent election section and its election map that will show the results for its local seats as they come in is a great feature. This set-up is being used by other Trinity Mirror titles too, including the Birmingham Post and Mail titles, which have also adopted the group blog Party Central for local politicians set up by the Liverpool Post & Echo:

The hyperlocal election:

We’ve written about the opportunities for hyperlocal, independent news sites in covering the general election and its seems tonight will be no exception. Expect liveblogs – Sunderland blog SR2 Blog is hoping to be one of the first sites to report a results, while Blog Preston has recruited student bloggers for the task; and live tweeting – new site for Manchester Inside the M60 will be tweeting the results live and posting them to the site as soon as they come in. Let us know if you’re planning something special for tonight or trying out some live reporting for the first time in the comments below.

Non-news sites:

Tweetminster gives an unrivalled view of tweeting going on during election day, filtering tweets from politicians and prospective parliamentary candidates, as well as mapping voter turnout by tweet and trending topics.

Facebook has set up a live vote count showing how many Facebook users have said they’ve voted, as well as pulling in news updates from external sites and polling users on its Democracy UK page.


And finally, if just for fun, a picture of how tweeters are aligned by party from @jaygooby.

If you’re a journalist, blogger or just an interested party let us know how you’re reporting and following election night as it happens.

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May 04 2010

09:05

Armando Iannucci: #bigotgate turned UK media into ‘pack of shrieking gibbons’

Creator of TV political satire The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci on bigotgate and what it says about the UK’s media:

The journalist from Sky News was in some kind of hysterical state of tumescence as he cackled “Gordon Brown’s done a gaffe and we wondered if you’d come on to respond. You’ve got to see it!” on my answering service, and I’m sorry I deleted it rather than release it in to the public domain. The BBC was no less sensationalist in its pokey recording of Brown sitting listening to his own surreptitiously recorded voice played back to him.

It’s at these moments that you stand back and see, not a nation debating its future, but a pack of shrieking gibbons.

Thankfully, though, Bigotgate seems to have had no impact on the polls. This has restored my faith in this election as a sober, sincere and considered affair, though it’s shed a light on what the media machine can do when it’s taken too much Red Bull.

Full article at this link…

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April 30 2010

15:34

April 08 2010

08:15

Media Guardian: Regional news consortia will miss election contract deadline

Attempts to rush through plans for Independently Funded News Consortia (IFNC) to replace regional news provision by ITV ahead of the general election on 6 May have failed.

The winning bids for the IFNC pilots in Tyne Tees/Border region, Scotland and Wales were announced on 25 March, but contracts for the scheme will not be signed before the election date, a spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed to the Guardian.

Those involved will now have to hope for a Labour victory on polling day as the Conservative party has said it will scrap the IFNC plans.

Full post at this link…

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March 04 2010

10:31

Questioning Question Time – how can the media engage young voters?

Following on from Journalism.co.uk’s coverage of the City University London event on the role of new media in the forthcoming UK election, Elizabeth Davies reviews BBC3’s special Question Time programme for young voters and asks: what can the media, both old and new, do to engage young voters? This post is also featured on her blog.

My name’s Elizabeth, and when this General Election eventually rolls around, I will be a first-time voter. I’m able to say this as if I’m a member of a support group because, quite frankly, I am. The Electoral Commission warned on Wednesday that more than half of 17-25-year-olds are not on the electoral register, paving the way for us to be considered a demographic desperately in need of some political prodding.

Of course, one way to do this is through sensible use of the media. Young voters need to be persuaded to shake off their political torpor, let alone demonstrate some enthusiasm, in a way that neither patronises nor pigeonholes them. As a journalist and young voter myself, I was intrigued to see how BBC3’s First Time Voters’ Question Time aired last night would tackle the issue.

The first depressing sign of what was to follow was the fact that the programme aired at the same time as the England vs Egypt match on ITV1. It doesn’t take a political genius to figure out that such a programming conflict means you’re probably preaching to the converted. A quick glance at the audience confirmed that. The vast majority, if not all, will probably turn up at their polling stations the minute they open.

The three parties selected their youngest and most telegenic representatives – which they considered in this case to be David Lammy, Jeremy Hunt and Julia Goldsworthy – while BBC3 stuck them on a panel with three others who they thought might be able to engage with the “youth”: Rory Bremner, Tim-from-the-first-series-of-the-Apprentice and… Jamelia. I wasn’t the only Twitter user who wondered if she’d wandered on to the wrong programme.

Over the course of an hour the audience managed to whine about politicians’ failure to talk about important policies and then illustrate, with the help of BBC3’s question selector, that what they cared about politically was failing to land a high-paying job the minute they graduated, celebrities, and indie music. Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Occasionally panellists and audience members did edge towards something resembling real political debate. But, as a rule, this special version of Question Time managed to both patronise and pigeonhole those of us who grew up under New Labour. That’s some feat.

Perhaps you have to give BBC3 points for trying – but those points don’t really count for very much when they’re unlikely to spur even one of those young people into making sure they’re registered to vote. As an attempt, it was pretty feeble. Nick Robinson may consider social media “self-important and narcissistic tosh”, but as we all know, 17-25 years are narcissistic and self-important. Yes, we got a Twitter account whose name was occasionally flashed up on screen, but what about a hashtag so we could debate these issues? What about the Twitter names of the panellists so the conversation could be taken wider than the studio? What about some kind of attempt to engage with Facebook given that we are, supposedly, the “Facebook generation”? What about – God forbid – an actual webpage for the programme where specific information about party policies can be posted and discussed?

Time and time again Barack Obama was held up as a shining example of a politician who got the youth excited because he talked about the issues and also let his true personality shine through in a way untainted by spin or the media. This demonstrated successfully that it isn’t only young people, but the programme’s panellists, who fail to read the news properly. Gordon Brown and David Cameron will take to the podium for the much-vaunted leaders’ debates schooled in the finest of the Obama arts, from those who know them best – Obama’s own advisers.

In the end, it may be up to those leaders’ debates and the media discussion around them to push voters of all ages towards showing an interest in the political future of their country. Yes, I do worry about the “Americanisation” of British politics the leaders’ debates and the subsequent exertions of party spin machines could create. But it may take that kind of wall-to-wall exposure to grab people’s attentions. In the final five minutes of the show, one of the audience members made the only sensible comment of the entire hour: you can complain all you want about politicians failing to lay out their policies, but young people need to show some initiative and actually go out to look for them. Journalists have a responsibility to be the vessel for that search, and to make it far more than a token gesture.

Young voters should not march themselves down to a polling station purely for the sake of it. But if the media considers carefully how it can grab their attention in an adult and informed manner, then it will do them, and the country, a huge service. And, you never know – it might just win itself a vital generation of new followers at the same time.

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March 03 2010

14:59

Election 2.0: Will it be ‘gotcha’ time for journalists?

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk after last night’s event on the role that new media will play in the forthcoming election, Matthew McGregor, London director of Blue State Digital – the agency behind Barack Obama’s new media presidential campaigning,  said it was important not to overlook journalists’ own use of social media in reporting and gathering the news.

The interesting thing for me about blogging is that so many journalists have started blogging to try and get their stories out quicker, to try and publish stories that they are know are interested and printable, but just don’t make it into the paper.

Local political newspapers and their blogs will be interesting [during the 2010 election campaigns]. For example, the Nottingham Evening Post has a politics blogger, who will break stories that might not get into the newspaper, but will be of national importance.

But the rise of the blogger outside of journalism will be a game changer for those in the profession covering the election, added McGregor. While the pre-preparedness of the party leaders ahead of the TV debates may save them from newsworthy gaffes, as suggested by BBC political editor Nick Robinson, the way in which journalists cover the news and interact with candidates will leave them open to ‘gotcha’ moments. The dissection of the National Bullying Helpline story is just the start.

A game-changer for local media?

The openness that politicians have with Twitter and Facebook means they can’t hide and there’s no point trying to, because authenticity can’t be faked.

Journalists covering the election from a local angle have a lot to gain from using social networks to track candidates, suggested McGregor. Candidates may well try to bypass mainstream media to connect with voters – local media needs to get in on the act in this interim space.

There’s also an opportunity for local journalists to push their election stories to a national level using new media channels, he added, echoing comments made by fellow panellist DJ Collins, Google’s director of communications and public affairs EMEA on the benefits of this to the general public.

You’re not just local anymore, especially during an election (…) and people vote a home who have moved away.

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February 01 2010

14:52

Event news: Will 2010 be the first new media election?

The Media Society and City University have joined forces to arrange a panel discussion on the role of new media in the forthcoming UK general election.

How will 2010’s election differ from past events? What impact will social media have on the coverage and outcome? What will the tole of new media mean for TV, radio and press coverage?

BBC political editor Nick Robinson and City University London professor Ivor Gaber will take part in a panel discussion alongside Matthew McGregor from Blue State Digital, the agency behind Barack Obama’s social media and web campaigns.

Full details of the event, which will be held on 2 March at City University London, are available at this link.

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December 21 2009

17:50

BBC News: Gordon Brown agrees to TV election debates

The UK is ready for its first ever televised leader election debates following an agreement between the three main political parties and BBC, Sky and ITV, the BBC reports.

Labour’s Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg have agreed to go head-to-head in a series of three debates.

Each clash will last about 90 minutes, with ITV’s Alastair Stewart hosting the first and Sky’s Adam Boulton the next.

Full story at this link…

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