What’s the point of journalists any more?

Though Saturday is largely an Unconference and the attendees will be fixing the agenda and timetable on the day (with a bit of healthy pre-event lobbying on the Uservoice site), I’m going to be chairing one whole-event session after lunch on the whole question of the Fourth Estate. We’ve got a democracy that relies on them, at least in part, to provide a counterweight to powerful interests. But their current business model appears to be changing, and we – in …

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Political Innovation: Building in your own agenda…

You may have seen the announcement post for the Political Innovation event that we’re holding at NICVA’s HQ (thanks NICVA!) on the 20th (tickets and detail here – and there’s a Scottish event planned for the 13th as well). We’re keen not to set the agenda too tightly. It won’t have any named speakers or a timetable. If you want to bring something up, you can – as long as other people are interested as well. Have a look at …

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Political Innovation in Belfast and Edinburgh…

We have a couple of events coming up this month. The first is in Edinburgh will host an number of hosted ‘unconference’ discussions, some of them focusing on the Political Innovation essay series. The impact that Twitter, Facebook, and blogs is likely to have on Scottish politics will be explored by a group of political bloggers, politicians, activists and journalists at a free-to-attend event at Edinburgh’s ‘School of Informatics’ on Saturday 13th November. The second in Belfast will be at …

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Slugger Awards: Give us your political pitches…

Right, so I have been away for a few weeks and accordingly we seem to have lost a bit of steam on the Slugger Awards front. Now I’d like to inject a little bit of energy into it. But first let me recap on what we’re doing and why we are doing it in this slightly convoluted way. The bugbear of any awards process is how you decide who is the best MLA, the best political journalist, or in fact …

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Slugger Politics Award pitch: Let actions speak louder than words

We all love the soundbite and those caustic comments that cuts to the bone, and occasionally we even like well thought out policy decisions, but what we should really award our politicians for is honest hard graft. Good constituency work is the only way you can get to know the people and form those policies, meeting people face to face means they remember you when it comes to election time, no matter how ugly that face may be! And by …

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Slugger Politics Award pitch: Building trust

Politics would be better if only politicians would …..begin re-building trust in politics, by trusting each other, by engendering trust between parties for the common good, by allowing and facilitating trust in themselves among the governed, and most of all by trusting the people, if given two paths, to choose the right one. Why is this important? Quite simply because trust is the mortar that binds the fundamental building blocks of democracy together; and without trust these sit uneasily and …

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Time to send your own message to the media

We’ve doing The Slugger Awards very differently this year. Instead of having rigid ‘Journalist of the Year’ / ‘MLA of the Year’ type awards, we’re asking everyone who reads this blog to tell us what they want politicians / the media / public bodies to do more of. Once we know what behaviour you want to reward, we can work out who to give the awards to. Mick started the ball rolling asking everyone to finish the sentence “Politics would …

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Slugger media awards: Speaking Truth to Power

   I’m suggesting an award  for Speaking Truth to Power. It’s one thing to cheek a senior politician buried in a blog  particularly if you have little or no profile yourself, quite another to do so day after day in print, or across a studio floor. Occasionally in the bad old days – not often – a politician’s friends might go in for a little freelance intimidation, nothing drastic you understand, just a hint of menace. But to be fair, in …

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The Slugger Awards (media) pitch: The Thinker and Explainer Award

Northern Ireland has no think tanks. This is a problem because Think Tanks perform a number of valuable roles. They take the complexity of academia, interpret / translate it for politicians and use it to help frame policies. They make complex issues more understandable. This is a role that the media could adopt with more enthusiasm than it does. OK – newspapers sometimes call academics for a quote. Sometimes they will go to some lengths to explain a complex issue …

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

We’re never done telling politicians what they should not be doing. Here’s a chance to help define what we want them to do more of. As many of you will already know, 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 …

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Slugger Awards (Media) Pitch: Searchlight on Government

This is one of several I have in mind. But this category would include campaigns and high quality investigations that reveal what’s going on under the surface of ministerial accountability to include the bureaucracy, quangos and watchdogs . This is particularly important in a political system without a formal opposition. Candidates would be asked to assess the role of FOI and pre-emptive government disclosure of papers in their reporting. ++++++++++++++ Slugger is now looking for pitches from people to turn the …

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Slugger Awards (Media) Pitches:The ‘Light a candle’ category

From reader ‘Willis’: …realise that while destroying is fun, building is hard work. A media category for individuals and campaigns which seek to help us understand each other and create shared solutions. The BT ‘Sit down; sort it out ‘campaign might be a contender except that it seemed one-sided. There is not enough good, popular journalism seeking to explain the economy, skills and education in a way that might encourage shared goals. There is plenty which wrings hands and blames. …

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Slugger Awards: Call for media category pitches…

Right, so now we’re going to get serious about crunching down the new categories for this year’s Slugger Awards. Unlike previous years we want you to set down what makes a good politician/good journalist/member of civil society. We already have a long list of qualities people think would make politics better. But as our resident wit, FitzJamesHorse, notes it would be “hard to get all of that engraved on the plinth of the award.” So now – to make things …

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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 …

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Slugger Awards 2010: Launching with a new format…

Slugger Awards 2010: Making politics better… Crowdsourcing improvement In 2008 and 2009, Slugger O’Toole has managed a set of awards designed to ‘catch people in public life being good’. It was intended as an antidote to the world-weary cynicism and negativity that often dominates the media. Previous years Up until now, we have worked with a pre-defined list of categories – MLA of the Year, Up-And-Coming Politician, Journalist of the Year etc, and then we’ve asked for nominations from our …

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