Monday, May 04, 2009

Control Freaks and Local News

I am finding the Guardian and Observer harder to follow. They still come up with conflicting messages. I no longer think this is a cunning plan of some kind, just various people at different times. The result is still to make me think that bloggers and comment posters are not really that welcome.

Still, the John Naughton space on Sunday (Control freaks don't get it) had links to talks by James Boyle at the RSA and Cambridge so some cred for the idea that control can be too tight. The Wikipedia is fairly treated in this approach. There is recognition for the contribution of large numbers of people on the Web. However, discussion about local news seems to make no provision at all for the way that new forms of networking could contribute. It is all about subsidies for existing models.

Today an editorial includes another welcome for the idea of BBC funds heading towards newspapers.

For the first time since the Enlightenment, large communities - towns, cities, even small nations - face the prospect of muddling through without any verifiable source of news.

Maybe it is just me, but I guess this means that the bloggers etc are just not verifiable. Then there is another swipe at the BBC - "Who is to say that BBC3 (budget £80m) is more deserving of public funds than local news?" - that reminds me of the previous campaign that wrecked the BBC plans for local video. My own concern is to find some way of getting resource for local video. Some can be done quite easily but there is another level required. More on this in blog about wifi in Exeter.

Recently Peter Preston suggested a new set of deals for regional groups.

Give Trinity the West Midlands, north-east and Lancashire hinterland. Leave the East Midlands and south-west to Northcliffe. Let Archant keep East Anglia safe and Johnston look after Yorkshire.

Presumably Manchester is still seen as Guardian territory, not Lancashire hinterland. As a Guardian reader in Exeter I find this readiness to carve up the UK with the Daily Mail just slightly shocking but not very surprising given the way the Guardian line seems to be moving.

It is welcome that the Web offers an alternative. And of course the BBC continues not only local, but the only global UK media brand.

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