Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

While the warnings about the demise of viable journalism could hardly have been any clearer, when the vote was taken it was overwhelmingly in support of the freedom and opportunities offered by the internet. Unesco’s annual World Press Freedom Day debate (2.5.2008) produced a spirited exchange of views but ended with a 43-13 vote to reject a motion that “new media is killing journalism.”

The annual UNESCO World Press Freedom Day debate (2.5.2008) resulted in a resounding defeat of a motion declaring that "new media is killing journalism".  After a wide-ranging discussion at the Frontline Club in London, the vote was 43-13 to reject the notion that the internet was a threat to professional journalists. In his speech Nicholas Jones (who supported the motion) argued that the unregulated development of audio-visual reporting on newspaper websites could undermine the great British and European tradition of the balanced and impartial reporting of politics on radio and television. 

Nicholas Jones, 18 October 2007 

Iain Dale is to be congratulated for highlighting the woeful failure of the left of centre in British politics to exploit the blogosphere. Of the top twenty political blogs featured in the Guide to Political Blogging 2007-8 , fourteen are from the right of centre and only two from the left.

Of even greater concern is the absence of any defining figures on the mainstream left to bridge the gap between "blogging and the traditional media".

Dale’s guide ranks the top 500 political blogs and as he observes with some justification, the "right of centre blogosphere" is in "a rude state of health" with not a single left wing blog having a mass readership anything like the size of the top seven or eight on the right.

 

August 1, 2008 

When the Democrats’ eight candidates for US President took part in a televised debate answering questions posted on the video-sharing website YouTube, they contributed to an event which was a first for American political campaigning and which will inevitably be copied and developed further by broadcasters and political parties in the United Kingdom.

New forms of media are opening up new ways of participating in politics and Britain, with its rich history of robust electioneering, is well placed to take advantage of the rapid growth in the use of the web and what has already become a highly-innovative form of communication.

But while welcoming new opportunities to engage with a section of the electorate which has been notorious in the past for its low levels of voting, there is no certainty that future turnout will be higher, nor is there any guarantee that the world-wide web will provide fairer or more accessible forms of political reporting.

No wonder there were complaints from Downing Street about the four national newspapers which printed photographs of the Prime Minister wrapped in a Mickey Mouse towel as he struggled to change out of his swimming trunks on a beach in Cornwall. As he and his wife Samantha had already provided a pre-arranged photo-opportunity earlier in week, the couple had assumed they would be left alone for the rest of their holiday.

But what No.10’s media minders had not taken into account was the fact that the Prime Minister’s run of summer holidays – four in four months – had become a story line in itself and their holiday snaps had far greater news value than usual.

Whereas in previous years the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and The Times might have respected Cameron’s privacy, the temptation was too great; the Prime Minister sunburnt belly and Samantha’s obvious amusement as her husband tried to pull up his shorts were a gift for the headline writers.

For once Cameron’s sixth sense about how to play along with the whims of the national press seemed to have deserted him. He had left himself open to the charge that he appeared more than comfortable flaunting the fact he and his family were having a magical run of summer breaks while many other families, hit by hard by harsh economic times, would think they were lucky to have had one holiday, let alone four.

From the moment he first bid for the Conservative Party leadership in 2005 Cameron has been willing to provide far greater access for photographers and television crews than most previous party leaders or Prime Ministers.  Indeed his willingness to allow himself and his family to feature in endless photo-opportunities – and his own ease in front of camera – has endured far longer than most seasoned publicists would have predicted.

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