Monday, November 28, 2016

Notes towards a persuasive counter-narrative

 Matthew d'Ancona writes about a drift to the right, Trump Brexit and Europe, then claims

a persuasive counter-narrative is conspicuously absent from mainstream politics.

This appears to be so as reported by the Guardian. Corbyn and Corbyn supporters only appear as trouble. Since the leadership election the approach seems to be to ignore Corbyn, not just find negative angles.

For example this report this morning puts Emily Thornberry right at the end of a story about the economic damage of leaving the single market. Online there is a video from the Andrew Marr show so the balance is slightly different. My own take was that Thornberry was perfectly clear on the Labour policy, also consistent with other front bench statements.

Chuka Umunna means well but I wonder why the Guardian features him as a Labour rep and often ignores those in the actual Shadow Cabinet? If the Remainers carry on with the economic case they will get support in the City and the House of Lords but Thornberry and others are working with the wider public. Needs a bit of space to report in full. Issues such as worker rights and the environment were largely ignored during the referendum. Needs a wider agenda to make sense outside the City and environs.

My guess is that space will appear online, not in Guardian print. But dialogue could continue.

More later in the week. How will Richmond be reported? Will it play well up north?

Editor Brand Dissonance Update

Possibly the Guardian, more than most of Fleet Street , is moving online to a globalised future. (The Mail is outside scope of this post, their online is a bit of a sideshow at least a bit different, not really trying to continue the same journalism values imho).

Trouble is that reading the print version is doing less and less to communicate what the online offer is about or how the reader is supposed to fit with it. Recently I mostly find writing about fake news on Facebook, dangers of mega companies, threats to educationa and the novel. Maybe it is just me but here are a few examples.

 It’s worrying that our young seem distracted and often depressed, and sad for those of us who have invested so much of our belief and our effort in print technology, that it – and the modes of being associated with it – appear to be in decline.

Will Self  Review Saturday

I’m also worried about how we use social media. The so-called neutral platforms facilitate hate against women, racism and homophobia, and they may have put Trump in the White House as well. It may not be the platform itself, but the way in which it favours those outside the conventional media establishment and its notions of balance. 

Rachel Holmes Monday

On Sunday John McNaughton put aside the ideas around the "netizen" or web "utopia". Things are very worrying.

What I cannot make out is what the Guardian Media Group is doing online. I still come across the website through Twitter links. But the dissonance comes about by comparing the print version. Is there a parallel universe of editorial where the web is more or less ok? Can't find it. What are the numbers on print sales? My guess is that the weekday print will vanish during 2017. 50 % confidence. Well enough confidence that it will be under discussion during the year and / or related events will actually occur.

According to Will Self "the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates... from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s" . However John McNaughton mentions earlier dates - "In the first decade after the internet we use today was switched on, in January 1983, cyberspace was a brave new world – a glorious sandpit for geeks and computer science researchers. "

More later on various dates. Will Self is closer to the Cluetrain Manifesto and the start of Guardian Unlimited Talk. This was actual social media, closed down by the Guardian without warning and without any option for readers to recover their own content. The facts are now obscure in any story told by Guardian staff. I cannot imagine any social media company doing such a thing. The Guardian editorial group must believe that their own content is the crucial bit. The conversation matters not. My guess is that things have now got worse. Much of the opinion copy is knocking online. How can it fit with other social media? Any numbers on how the audience finds the website? From the print version I guess the readers are just in a rush to unplug, if they find the argument convincing.

Monday, November 21, 2016

HE day as tech disruption, ramble till BETT

Leaving this post as Guardian related as tomorrow should be an Education day in print. Not sure if this continues, not much media today.

I have now booked three nights in London around time of BETT for me and colleagues from @wenotno and Wild Show on Phonic FM. We are mostly interested in radio but this can cross over into learning etc.

Found out about dif - digital innovation festival - through the One Planet MBA, sponsors of Tech Exeter conference. Tomorrow is HE day then on Wed Douglas Rushkoff

We don’t have to accept the rules of a 13th Century, printing press era operating system for our 21st Century economy. Real disruption would mean challenging the underlying OS, not just installing more extractive software on top of it.

From an interview but maybe more fully explained on Wed. Somehow the Guardian seems still with the printing press. They have not done a lot on the MOOC recently. Peter Scott refuses to write about them. They don't seem to have many reporters so rely on such academic sources for copy. Through Twitter I have found a video from 2014.

Time for an update on Futurelearn. And London University. Is there a business model yet? 

The Twitter for dif is 

My question is still about the buildings budget compared to online. Apart from OU / Futurelearn I think UK universities are still investing in iconic buildings. Blended could at least reduce the time on campus. It is even possible that there has been a bubble in student accomodation. More later.

Now watched the YouTube catchup on this morning

remark about campus unis about 27 min in.

@wenotno on @phonicfm between 12 and 2 Exeter time but probably an update on this much later.

Fact Check Please, why Benn left Shadow Cabinet @guardian

Report on deselection possibility today in Guardian

Benn was then sacked from his role as shadow foreign secretary amid claims that he was encouraging colleagues to resign as part of an attempt to replace Corbyn as leader.

No mention of stories in Observer and Sunday Times. Both clearly reported Benn as linked to resignation project. No way a party leader could live with this sort of report. Benn seems to have accepted this during phone call. Later he denied being the source of the story. So who was? How many versions of the print report existed? It seems to have gone from "Benn plans  to resign" to "Benn sacked in middle of the night" where "middle of the night" means leader sees the morning papers. If this story came from a source other than Bennor unknown to him who was it? Long enough ago for a bit of investigation. Somebody at Sunday Times or Observer probably knows.

Today Guardian story continues
A source close to Benn said: “Hillary is incredibly polite and a positive person and has welcomed the new [Leeds Central] officers.  
“The excitement in the media [over deselection] has been slightly distracting, but he is clear his number one job is to hold the government to account on Brexit. For many who want a good relationship with our Europe partners in the future, he is our last hope.”
He may be the last hope for Guardian readers who rely on the Guardian alone as a source of news. Unless they watch Andrew Marr show. No report on John McDonnell questions re Brexit this Sunday. Corbyn at PMQ? maybe this will be more reported. only time can tell.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Guardian Media Group needs an online extra in the struggle against Brexit

I am getting more convinced they have decided not to report Corbyn. Negative reporting during the leadership election did not do the trick so now they seem to just prefer the Lib Dems and the House of Lords plus the occasional Conservative MP.

Saturday story mostly about apparent splits around Keith Starmer. Thing is I cannot find what the difference is in what various shadow cabinet people have to say. They accept the decision from the referendum. There are policies for parliament to discuss. I recently saw John McDonnell on Andrew Marr show. The opportunity he sees is to meet with other left political organisations in Europe. I can't see where this clashes with anything Starmer has said.

Paragraph 12 just in the middle, the bit that interests me.

The Labour leader was praised at Westminster for his robust performance against Theresa May at this week’s prime minister’s questions, when he accused her government of being in a “total shambles” over Brexit.

Surely if the Guardian was mostly concerned with Brexit rather than rubbishing Corbyn, this is the sort of thing that would relate to the headline and be further up the story?

Then today Andrew Rawnsley writes about the difficulties for Liberal opinion faced with Trump and Brexit. Nine paragraphs in -

You can say the new “populists” are phoneys and presume their mendacities and contradictions will be exposed once people have experience of how they wield power. Jeremy Corbyn was doing that yesterday when he had a pop at the “fake anti-elitism of rich white men like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump”. The Labour leader makes a good point. But there was a better one he could have made. Why have a former commodity broker and a billionaire property developer proved more effective at mobilising voters discontented with their economic lot than did the Labour party at our most recent general election?

This is I think the only reporting of Corbyn's speech in the Observer. Corbyn was not fronting the Labour Party at the last general election. A bit more space could be given to the history around Blair and Brown and others who kept popping up during the EU referendum as arranged by Will Straw and Lord Mandelson. How well did this work out? Lord Darling sharing a platform with Osborne for example.

Trouble is that Guardian Media Group seem to be set on this path. They worry about the universities, UK image as well as research funding. Corbyn may be reaching a wider audience, much more likely if reported.

So the Guardian etc should be read alongside Twitter and YouTube as a way to reach the sources they choose to ignore and devote their journalism to hiding.

Monday, November 07, 2016

ITN vid now on YouTube, you decide where the damage is

Now found the ambush vid on YouTube

Why do they do this? A public event, every chance for press to ask a question.

Then on Sunday the BBC Sunday Politics ignored Corbyn in Sunday Mirror. Used this clip, nothing from the formal speech. Polly Toynbee follows up as if unaware of Sunday Mirror.

I realise I am repeating previous post but just a recap now the vid appears.

Mainstream media is getting much worse as bias.

For news about Corbyn and McDonnell suggest a search on Twittter and / or YouTube.

By the way while repeating things, Channel 4 blocked the Last Leg complete clip from Corbyn's own YouTube channel. My guess is that Lord Mandelson or whoever arranged the TV schedule did not allocate Corbyn a lot of space. He turns up for the youth vote, copes with indignity, and then cannot take home a copy of his very sensible extended case.

Blame Corbyn. Of course, if you rely on just TV.

PS I wonder if the BBC will upload a clip of Polly Toynbee on Sunday Politics ? Let the public make of it what they can.

update @guardian reporting on #corbyn

The Monday print version is as disturbing as I could imagine based on TV and online over the weekend.

Corbyn is reported but very sliced up. Bottom of page 4 his readiness to welcome an election was interpreted as a threat to block brexit apparently, later amended to something else. Actually he made a clear statement at a public event on Saturday and gave an interview to the Sunday Mirror.

Polly Toynbee on TV chose to rely on the ITN ambush, so why this garbled version of a clear answer to the question?

Workers rights panel opposite page. half way though Corbyn on workers rights as a condition for supporting May on article 50.

So strictly speaking the reporting of facts is just about included. But the journalistic skill is invested in forms of obscurity.

Meanwhile Zoe Williams mentions the "once vilified figures who periodically pop up as the voice of reason" - Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, John Major. Thing is in parliament the official leader of the opposition has some basis for asking questions. Always more effective if reported. Yes you read this in a blog, sometimes lost on @guardian just my opinion.

A newspaper that ignores facts available from other sources just to fit their brand of opinion is in some danger if the echo chamber fails to resonate.

Labour supporters backing off so LibDems can win an election? Based on what would you think? Get ready for another Polly Toynbee on blame Corbyn.

What happened during the referendum is still obscure. Lord Mandelson may have been involved in some media arrangements. Corbyn was not fully reported. Project Fear was all about the economy as in the City. Worker rights no more discussed than the Sunday Mirror interview this weekend was reported by BBC or Guardian. So I think an understanding of what happened is getting more clear.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Guardian should study the Mirror, just my opinion

More later in the Fleet Street blog, things are becoming more clear.

But meanwhile watching the BBC I notice that the Andrew Marr press review had no mention of Jeremy Corbyn in the Sunday Mirror. A bit strange, some might think.

Later on the Sunday Politics Polly Toynbee opines that Corbyn is not prepared to answer a question about an early election. This is based on an ambush by ITN. At least they reported the main speech, unlike the Guardian website yesterday that concentrated on the refusal to answer.

You can see from the clip on the ITN link above that this question was not part of a formal press conference. I guess ITN could request an interview.

Or else read the Sunday Mirror. I guess the Sunday Politics is live so Polly Toynbee has a chance to read the Sunday Mirror before she has another go at Jeremy Corbyn.

I used to think the problem with the Guardian is that reduced resources have limited the scope of reporting. But now it seems the opinions are driving the choice of facts.

If there is a loose coalition of well meaning conservatives, LibDems and various columnists I think they should consider what the priority is. Is it so important to damage Corbyn that they ignore or distort anything he says about Europe? Was this so during the referendum? What was the damage from this?

Maybe all of Fleet Street has now become an opinion shop. They sometimes describe social media as an echo chamber. But they offer a predicted slant as the main benefit. By the way, I also think the Guardian has got it a bit wrong as to the number of readers who welcome the Corbyn bashing. There are probably a good few who would accept some direct reporting.

I propose to do a daily search on Twitter and follow the links. YouTube also a good source for direct info.

From the Sunday Mirror

Mr Corbyn’s bottom lines are:
  • UK access to 500 million customers in Europe’s single market.
  • No watering down of EU workplace rights.
  • Guarantees on safeguarding consumers and the environment.
  • Pledges on Britain picking up the tab for any EU capital investment lost by Brexit

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Hard Fleet Street and Soft Fleet Street

Still thinking that Fleet Street is close to the City. They seem to guess whatthe City might like or at least benefit from. Will Hutton today calls for more energy against Brexit and claims that "the centre and left – and the best of the conservative tradition – can unite" . However he also says that " no success is possible without the full-throated support of the Labour party, strikingly absent from the unfolding trauma." Trouble is I think this statement is just untrue and I can only guess it is part of a continuing Guardian Media campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

I cannot find any reporting in print of PMQ on Wednesday. Maybe benefits and disability are not news. Thing is, there was hardly any reporting on John McDonnell last week with fairly detailed questions on the economy. When Corbyn asks questions about Brexit will this be reported or will the same topics just turn up later from other sources, closer to the columnist views in general?

See the Fleet Street blog for more on Corbyn during the referendum.

For this blog I think the Labour Party / Brexit situation possibly needs more reporting facility than the Guardian can afford. They recently did a long read on tabloid problems but they might have considered their own situation. The reader sourced reporting from Liverpool was quite a bit different from the Westminster view. They need a lot of space to cope with what the readers find for themselves and the opinions they prefer.

"Full Throated" remain might mean supporting the City based case made by Cameron. Labour is probably going to be different to this. If Fleet Street , both hard and soft, just fails to report this then the Brexit case is going to carry on.

Since the print version was puiblished for today there has been a court decision. I wonder if Corbyn will be reported in the Guardian tomorrow? Dedicated blogger though I am, I also wonder how long to spend a couple of quid each day just to check what has not been reported.

(Labour supporters backing off in Richmond just to make life easy for the Lib Dems? Not very likely unless something positive happens somewhere else. Just my guess )