Is Northern Ireland’s government funded tail wagging the media dog?

Newton Emerson from last Thursday’s Hearts and Minds argues that complaints from the First Minister ring a little hollow, not least because very little in the media originates in the media but in the vast bank of Press officers in Stormont, and a closed loop between government funded civil society and Stormont MLAs:

As the resulting tide of hysterical press releases floods out an increasingly hard pressed media simply repeats them. Peter Robinson should know how that balance of power has shifted his Executive employs employs 161 press officers more than all the newspaper journalists in Belfast.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • iluvni

    Best commentary on the bloated wasteful farce yet.
    Close it down.

  • Keithbelfast

    Close what down?

  • Jim Allister puts a different twist on a (£400,000) photo opportunity after the little tit-bit about £5m on spin-doctors.

  • Keithbelfast

    Also, was that really out of focus or do I need to make another trip to Boots opticians?

  • Mick Fealty

    It was, no you don’t. I need a better means to record the stuff, any advice to my inbox please?

  • Keithbelfast

    Ah. Sorry, didn’t realise it was a home recording Mick.

    You can link to a timestamp in iplayer, but you wouldn’t have been able to embed then. So nope, no idea.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d do that, but those wash away when the time is up…

  • What about recording using Elgato on to a Mac or PC then use Moviemaker or iMovie to edit out the clip, then upload. basically same level of copyright violation as home movie. Drop me an email.

  • alex gray

    There are too many press officers at Stormont and when you combine them with the number of DUP press officers and Sinn Fein press officers the number pushing the official line is even greater. Local journalists are overwhelmed by this. They are also still mesmerised by the need not to rock the boat so that the whole peace process does not collapse – so they do not ask any difficult questions.The real problem Northern Ireland has is the turgid politics between the two big parties and a lack of vision and direction for government. More strategic thinkers are needed rather than press officers but the problem for command and control party models like Sinn Fein and the DUP is that they do not have stragegic thinkers, hence the dearth of imagination in policy making. By the way this lack of vision is just as bad in the smaller parties.