Whatever you do don’t mess with the Press Office…

In an interview with Diana Rusk in the Irish News on Wednesday, Noel Thompson had some interesting comments to make on the tetchiness less of politicians, than of their minders and their press officers. We haven’t been able to get Martin McGuinness for months now – in fact since the interview I did before his presidential campaign,” he said. I wouldn’t care to say whether or not Mr McGuinness himself has said I am not doing Hearts and Minds, because … Read more

“What we have learned is that hearts and minds are fluid. And they do change”

No better man than Malachi O’Doherty for a sweet and powerful valedictory for a very long and sometimes politically tough Peace Process™ era, and the programme that brought us some of the most memorable commentary of that era… And in the process he also praises the decency, for the most part, of politicians who are now battling manfully to get things done… Ní Bheidh a Leithéid Arís Ann… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on … Read more

That’ll be twelve pounds fifty please …

BBC Hearts and Minds

After years of providing material for Thursday night and Friday morning posts on Slugger, BBC NI’s Hearts and Minds aired last night for the last time. [Ed – Not quite the last: it has one last swansong on BBC Parliament at 4pm on Sunday afternoon] While waiting for Sinn Fein’s Ard Comhairle to shake hands on the Ts and Cs of Martin McGuinness protocol for meeting the Queen, there’s just enough time to watch the last episode on iPlayer. Classic … Read more

Is #Stormont effectively ‘nationalising’ its own images?

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 … Read more

Licence fee freeze leads BBC NI slashes top journalist jobs…

Grim reading this morning in the Belfast Telegraph (h/t Nevin)… Hearts and Minds, as long expected, is to finally go. The production teams for three programmes will be to some extent amalgamated, and run on a rolling basis…. And some key assets are being got rid of, including Julia Paul who’s film pieces for Hearts and Minds have been some of the corporation’s consistently highest quality output: Politics reporters Yvette Shapiro and Julia Paul as well as environment correspondent Mike … Read more

Hearts and Minds: Paramilitaries and ‘the table of accountability’

John Howcroft talking to Noel Thompson argues that the UDA in north Belfast is now accountable for its actions, tough it is not clear from the interview as to how and to whom… A genuine step forward, or just another quid pro quo… Mick FealtyMick 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. … Read more

Is the BBC pushing Hearts and Minds onto the brink of extinction?

Last Thursday Eamonn noted on Twitter that he hoped BBCNI’s flagship current affairs programme Hearts and Minds would not fall foul of the cutters axe in the latest round of BBC cuts. Right across the UK, regions are being seriously hit, with savings being made by merging traditional regions, into larger less coherent entities. Slugger’s understanding is that Northern Ireland will not be taking as large a hit as elsewhere, but that nonetheless savings are almost certainly in the pipeline, … Read more

Hearts and Minds: The Minster, the Bar and legal aid…

Just a heads up that that Hearts and Minds have Justice Minister David Ford on tonight with Adrian Colton QC, Chairman of the Bar Council. It’s pretty rare that any of our local Ministers will go toe to toe with their critics, though as Pete has already pointed out this is a delicate subject with some nuances that the Minister’s proposed actions seem to ignore… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of … Read more

Hearts and Minds: Cameron, Parades and Human Rights…

By all accounts Eamonn McCann is on classic form (he’s up and down to Belfast all this week as Raytheon comes back to the Law Courts, claiming the new parades legislation breaches our basic human rights. Despite Cameron’s visit o we have any real idea of what’s in store for Northern Ireland from the Coalition? Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is put on the spot. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet … Read more