Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Is #Stormont effectively ‘nationalising’ its own images?

Fri 8 June 2012, 10:44am

When I was working as a sort of blogging pacemaker at the Daily Telegraph, it used to slightly irk me that the papers subs would always choose the photos. Invariably, if it was a piece that featured Gordon Brown the photo would alway capture some deeply unattractive aspect of his physog.

But the point was, I suppose, that it was the paper that owned the means to refract the image of the government as opposed to the government itself. Likewise the Guardian, the FT and the Mail etc, etc..

Hearts and Minds last night looked at how the ownership of how Northern Irish politicians look has all but been privatised… not simply through overwhelming capacity to buy resources but the photo op is now a rarity on in the press calendar…

Yet, as the great MLAs and the like standing around looking awkward page on Facebook, it does not always turn out well…

Nick Garbutt flicks through a great book of world class press photography… but it is more the case that the great era for press photography gave up the ghost when the era of epic politics finally faded back in 2007?

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Comments (2)

  1. Framer (profile) says:

    What happens to the regiment of Stormont press officers when there are no newspapers left due to the withdrawal of government advertising and the monopolistic BBC website?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
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  2. Evolve (profile) says:

    Local politicians are drawn from much the same gene pool as the rest of us. It is unreasonable therefore, to expect them to be photogenic. This expectation feeds into the cliché that an image is worth a thousand words. I’m not sure what we can actually do about this, except express the vain hope that we grow up a little.

    A couple of things jumped out at me.

    Jim Allister does sometimes provide useful scrutiny in Stormont.

    “Government says only about 80 of them are press officers” To me this seems like far too many.

    The £400,000 photography contract was tendered. I don’t care if it has been retrospectively written into the bible. It still seems like a waste of money.

    This is worrying from the point of view of centralization and a growing control freakery.

    Finally, I hope Hearts and Minds isn’t facing the axe because of its slightly irreverent and questioning style.

    What do you think?
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