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)
David Warburton of the HCA and Nick Alexander of St Modwen at Locking Parklands this week
It’s been one of those weeks, which I am sure happens in every job, when you charge through every day at full pelt, tackle all tasks at hand and still find that half of the ‘to do’ list remains unfinished. The reason for this is the subject of another post (when I have a bit more brain power to think about it).
One job that has delivered results this week is the long-awaited announcement of the start of work on site at Locking Parklands, near Weston super-Mare.
News that work on the first phase of the £400m development has begun was released on Tuesday and picked up as a front page piece (and online) in the Bristol Evening Post, the Western Daily Press, local media, business websites and on BBC Radio Bristol. Hopefully, there’s more to come tomorrow.
It has capped a busy week for the HCA’s developer partner St Modwen, who took the effort to inform local residents of the work by leafletting their homes on Monday. A website dedicated to the development is due to follow soon.
It’s great when things go well. I could do with a couple more like that next week.
‘Squalid truth behind the Sun’s murder reward’ – Media Guardian
Roy Greenslade takes aim again at the tabloid press, and The Sun in particular, whose offer of a £50,000 reward to help catch Joanna Yeates’ killer is treated with cynicism. He should know; Greenslade was once a senior executive at the paper, when Kelvin MacKenzie (think ‘Freddie Star ate my hamster’, or worse) was editor.
Homes for heroes win £660k grant – Bristol Evening Post
I blogged about this fantastic self-build project over Christmas after working on the story just before the festive break. It’s great to see it win some more deserved recognition early in the new year.
The concerns surrounding some media reporting of the Joanna Yeates murder case in Bristol have become more public since I blogged about it a couple of days ago.
It emerged yesterday that Avon and Somerset Police took the rare step of banning ITV News from its morning press briefing because it had run a story the previous night that was the force thought was unfairly critical of its investigation. The ban was lifted, and the report did not threaten to undermine potential legal proceedings (as other reports have done). But it’s a measure of how tense things have become, and illustrates how the media risks misjudging the balance between reporting freely (which should always be allowed) and irresponsibly (which the police are right to act against, in the interests of finding Joanna Yeates’ killer).
Meanwhile, the Bristol Evening Post’s splash yesterday reported how media organisations were written to by suspect Christopher Jefferies’ lawyers and warned of their probing into, and reporting of, their client’s life. The high number of reader comments underneath the story (not all are relevant, admittedly) demonstrate the strength of feeling and interest there is locally about the case.
When I worked in newspapers, it was made clear that you did not write stories about the antics of fellow journalists; the public was ‘not interested’ in such introspection. When the news media does report on itself, you can be sure that something is seriously amiss, as Roy Greenslade points out here.
Here are a small number of online reactions I have noticed from those directly affected by the Localism Bill, laid in Parliament yesterday.
‘We welcome the general thrust of the Bill…however…’ – GWE Business West blog
A cautious welcome from the Chambers of Commerce covering Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire.
Reaction to Localism Bill – LGiU the local democracy blog
One of a few decent posts on the LGiU blog, from chief executive Andy Sawford (who is also worth following on Twitter).
Getting to the heart of localism – Living with rats
Julian Dobson writes about a Bradford community group that has put localism into action and highlights some of the policy pitfalls in the process.
‘Barbara’s our Boris’ – Bristol Evening Post
Reaction to yesterday’s news that Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke is its ‘answer to Boris Johnson’, as part of the bill’s plans to created a new breed of 12 elected mayors in England’s urban metropolitan areas. Here’s hoping for a decent debate on this issue in the months ahead.
On the day I complete my latest round of Continuing Professional Development for another year, Roy Greenslade highlights the campaigning newspapers who have created much-needed apprenticeships and training opportunities in their localities.
I remember being impressed by the Bristol Evening Post splash when the paper hit 100 apprenticeships on the first day of its campaign earlier this year. No mean feat in these testing times. It seems, however, the EP got the idea from Ian Mean’s paper, The Citizen, a few months earlier.
It quite literally proves the old newspaper adage that the best campaigns are the ones that work.
Congratulations to the papers who have run these campaigns and made a difference to hundreds of young lives in the process.