Government without newspapers, or newspapers without government?

I’ve just come back from speaking at the European Personal Democracy Forum in Barcelona. Civico have sound files of all the events. It was a fascinating experience, not least because of the conversations I had in the down time with people whose expertise and experience were very different from my own. For the first time I got a real sense of just how open the road ahead might be with dozens of new tools coming into the market place every day, and the commitment of independent hackers and coders to make new stuff happen.

If, as one of the UK delegates said “political culture is always shaped by media culture not the other way round” it suggests that our political culture is in serious trouble, with the way the news media is collapsing all around us, there could be a myriad of solutions. But as I argue in my piece the Belfast Telegraph today on the DCMS decision to dump Northern Ireland from the Independently Funded News Consortium (IFNC) pilot scheme, “the global forces that are so quick to pump billions in to maintain our managerial top-down political processes are entirely missing the importance of local media and enabling it to build from the bottom upwards”.

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  • Seymour Major


    Re the second paragraph of your post – I only became acquainted with the problem of the decline in the number of political reporters employed after watching ‘Hearts and Minds’ on 12th November. This is worrying, whilst we are very much in a transitional phase of political development in Northern Ireland.

    So to find out that Northern Ireland is apparently excluded from the regional IFNC pilots causes me to scratch my head.

    Do we know the reason why Northern Ireland was not included?

  • Mick – just read your Tele piece and came on Slugger but am a bit disappointed more people haven’t commented – since the point you make is a good and important one.

    Working in the PR industry I might be expected to welcome the loss of so many editorial staff across the newsrooms of NI – since the result could potentially mean that we can fill the space with our clients’ material. But that’s not the case and the weaknesses that were masked by the one-story nature of this place during the troubles are now being compounded by cuts which are seeing some of the best getting out (becuase they still can) and leaving many media organisations badly under-resourced for editorial staff.

    Mick – in addition to your Tele piece, there’s probably quite a lot that could be done to get this moving in political cricles if there’s a few out there willing to put their shoulders to the wheel?