Slugger Awards: “Politics would be better if only the Media would….”

As we noted last week we are relying on you to help us develop the Slugger Awards categories this year. If it works, it will be a multi-layered process: including a Dragon’s Den type breakfast event later in the Autumn. But we need to get started with as many ideas as possible.

Today we begin, not with politicians, but with the media. The ‘provocation’ is deliberately short, so as many people can give us their ideas as to what would make for a better politics in Northern Ireland.

So all you have to do is finish this sentence: “Politics would be better if only the Media would….”

Usual Slugger Awards rules apply. In other words, just try to complete the proposition and negatives (for example, screeds about what they shouldn’t be doing) will be removed on sight…

Otherwise, just make it short and to the point. And have a bit of fun with it..


  • … inform, educate and entertain.

  • S

    “Politics would be better if only the Media would…

    … analyse and then report on the issues in greater depth, take into consideration the views of young people who are active members of the communities in which we live, and in turn, recognise the impact the language in which they use has on policy, law and communities.

  • Mark McGregor

    …research more stories over rehashing press releases.

  • … use independent thought to create new stories from scratch

  • Mark McGregor

    …be fearless of getting on the wrong side of elected representatives.

  • William Markfelt

    ….dumb it down a little.

  • Mark McGregor

    …occasionally give younger and fresher minds chances to cover the ‘big’ stories.

  • Mick Fealty

    Great stuff… just a quick note now we’re going… if you want to challenge the direction of any of these, give us some suggestions that might inspire ‘better’ future routes…

  • Neil

    … challenge their own community.

  • S

    … be more responsible in their reporting taking into consideration ideology.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    ….stop taking themselves and each other so seriously.

  • Johnny Boy

    … do their job.

  • I’d sooner see them going after the ones with the real power – the ones who never face an election. It means going after stories where the trophy isn’t necessarily the politician’s head on a stick but something a bit more slow-boil like some senior civil servant or QUANGO chief

  • Paul

    … realise their first responsibility is to democracy, then their readers.

  • Pete Baker

    … be more sceptical.

  • S

    … be more responsible.

  • Cynic


  • Dave

    not have so much interference from the lawyers and get on with telling the truth….

  • Remain separate from the ‘clubs’, investigate and expose.

  • William Markfelt

    …stop using words like ‘fury’ and ‘anger’ with such depressing regularity.

    …get all hacks a copy of Roget

    [extratraneous text removed – mods]

  • edgeoftheunion

    ..realise that while destroying is fun, building is hard work.

  • Damian O’Loan

    …kept its distance
    …varied its sources more
    …went into more detail
    …organised stories’ history better online
    …had a more international focus
    …initiated more and transmitted PRs less, and
    … was more sceptical.

    or, if we bought more good newspapers.

  • Seymour Major

    “….conduct and fully publish opinion polls”

    I refer, of course, to Northern Ireland in particular. If people could have some idea of what others were thinking, they may be more emboldened in their voting habits and force the politicians to move to meet them.

    We had one limited set of polls conducted by the Belfast Telegraph last year. Unfortunately, they used the material selectively. We need the regional media to agree between them to share their data openly as well.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good stuff SM, but try to stick to the one line finisher… we can ask you to make longer pitches later, but for now we need to feel the width and not mind the quality…

  • refused to repeat political cliche as political fact.

  • McKavanaghs

    … cease paving the way for irrational attitudes of submission to authority”.

    (Ok, I’ll admit it, Chomsky played a part in coming up with that one).

  • Internationalist

    be honest and ethical in how they attain their stories.

    hold other media outlets to account.

    make reality shows about problems in communities ie unemployment, homelessness, drug abuse, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy and domestic violence etc. instead of big brother type trash TV.

    cover European news more.

    [Slightly edited – mods]

  • Internationalist

    look at countries facing or that have faced similar problems and challenge our representatives to learn from ‘other solutions’

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s more in the class of an ‘inaction’ rather than a recommended ‘action’…

  • Granni Trixie

    …recognise the diversity in NI by not restricting stories to what emerges from “two” kinds of imagined communities.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    were compelled to learn History instead of Shorthand

  • Mick Fealty

    again, that’s an inaction, not something they/we can possibly do to make things better…

  • Alias

    Politics would be better if only the Media would… refuse to disseminate pro-state propaganda but rather act to defend the people from the state rather than defend the state from the people.

  • Alias

    That’s inaction and an action, so it’s sort of okay!

  • … acknowledge which other media (mainstream media and new media) they sourced their material and quotes from.

  • edgeoftheunion

    …apply the same rules to themselves as they do to the rest of us.

  • McKavanaghs

    “… remember who they work for.”

  • The Raven

    If the President can manage Press Gala dinners at the end of his term, I don’t think anyone minds a few guys from Pacemaker Press and Stephen Nolan on a field with some MLAs. No, really…

  • The Raven

    ….use FOI for something worthwhile.

  • Oracle

    learn to get nasty

  • William Markfelt

    I repeat, WTF does this need modded for?

  • Brian Walker

    Broaden the political agenda of the Troubles legacy to embrace policy with more specialist reporting on the economy and business. education, health, real council stories. (With notable exceptions this is a huge deficiency).

    Revive the traditional virtues of fuller reporting generally.
    ( Assembly proceedings seem to be largely ignored)

    Provide more background analysis and news features to accompany major running stories.

    Separate fact from opinion more clearly.

    Report and reflect ” the other side ” more fully as an editorial policy

    Continue to develop more informed opinion from wider constituencies outside the office.

    Increase the volume of coverage from the Republic, without there necessarily being a northern connection.

    Insititute occasional ” Letters from..” to report and compare the different experiences of the devolved UK and the Republic

    Institute much bolder interaction for rebutttal, correction, apology and debate.

    Don’t be afraid to go a little upmarket – you might even win readers. At the same time, ease up on trying to be Ulster’s little Daily Mail. Develop our own thriving popular culture, north, south and beyond. Sadly Eddie McIlwaine won’t live forever ( though for a good deal longer, I hope)

    .. enough to be going on with… As well as the will you need the investment but that is often a convenient excuse for inertia.

  • Mick Fealty

    Cause you is breaking the rule of this thread as stated above…

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Hard to get all of that engraved on the plinth of the award.

    (complying with Mr Fealtys instruction to have a little fun with it)

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Politics would be better if only the Media would……be less trusting of the wider freemasonry of Journalism.

  • “Politics would be better if only the Media would….”

    …remove the anonymity from sources that limits political accountability.

  • William Markfelt

    Thanks for the explanation, Mick. Still not sure how ‘a less cosy relationship’ is negative, but cheers anyway.

  • For what its worth

    …all question as vigourously as Eamonn Mallie.

  • magnus

    take a leaf out of Seamus Mckee’s book. Note the transformation since he went to Evening Extra. Has he opened one of those unsolicited e-mails.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s not negative so much not an aspiration/goal… What do you recommend they actually do to achieve it?

  • William Markfelt

    It’s not a goal because the two football teams have no desire to score it.

    In the NIW story there is this repeated ‘NI is a small place’ mantra, regarding the same faces, same relationships.

    There’s an even smaller Stormont village. I’m not buying into the idea that you need to be ‘matey’ with your press/political adversaries. (That has shown itself to be a petard t be hoist upon in the NIW saga) So cordial professionalism, while remaining aloof and perhaps even cold would suffice. It would build the idea of trust in the public who still bother to read the newspapers. I’d expand the theme except we’re trying to keep things pithy right now.

  • Oracle

    Take to the glue and aquire some stickability

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Politics would be better if only the Media would….compel journalists to sign up to a code of ethics and to have their individual performances reviewed every year by a panel of people from professions with a higher public standing……solicitors, doctors, politicians, estate agents”

  • Brian Walker

    One snapper line to meet the brief.

    Spoke truth to power

    After everybody has had a good go, just a late quibble or two about the brief itself. Is it the media’s job to make politics better? Easy to attack the messenger and all that. And even if the media did all that was asked of them, would politics necessarily be better? If only the politicians… but then, it might be a very thin awards event.