EI Opinion & Debate on ‘Who sets the terms of public conversation’

Last night, I attended the event organised by Editorial Intelligence of which I am a member at Edelman which was very interesting.   I also took a long a friend, Mary Nash who is a freelance undercover journalist and I can’t tell you more than that sorry.

The topic ‘Who sets the terms of public conversation’ was the call for the evening and certainly was food for thought as I do believe that the person on the street isn’t always heard and that is why the word on the street isn’t always factual.

The panel was great and over seen and mediated by Stefan Stern who is the Director of Strategy at Edelman.

We started off with Anne Spackman who is the Comment Editor for The Times and it was really interesting what she had to say about the fact news is in a loop, and that all the different platforms for circulating it feed off each other.   News is viral however breaking news is not always right and how true.  How many times do you hear breaking news such as earthquake hitsJapan1000’s dead and then by the evening it’s only 100’s reported dead.   But, then I certainly don’t think oh the BBC or Times Online got it wrong as it’s only natural that you don’t always have all the facts till it evolves.     The other point that I found interesting from Anne was that reader’s comments don’t drive the news which I am pleased to hear but that they certainly do keep stories alive.

Next, was Iain Martin, Columnist & Consultant Editor for The Daily Mail which I confess is the paper of my choice for ease of reading when time is not of the essence.  Anyway, he pointed out that traditional media dictates the public conversation and that politicians have a lot of powers but scared of the media.   In fact his great comment was ‘the economy is bush and now politics is going to be bust’  though don’t quote me on the exact words but, I am sure he’ll be quoted as a result.

Jenny Grey, the Director of Policy Communications for No.10 and the Cabinet Office I felt sorry for as she was representing a difficult area but she held her ground very well and gave an interesting insight into the world of media and public conversation from the view of No.10 and the Cabinet Office.   Not an easy job and I certainly wouldn’t like to fill her shoes.

Lastly, it was David Smith who is the Economics Editor of The Sunday Times a position he has held for over 20 years so a wealth of knowledge in his field.    He started with a stat of how many Columnist & Leaders there were in Broadsheets of which he said approximately 50 but overall in print +/- 100 a day.    He also spoke about reputations and how valued columnists are and this is so true and something I could resonate with as reputation is the key to ones success.

The open discussion following on was interesting as people asked about the demographics of the age of broadsheet readers and how twitter was younger generation’s source of news which I found very concerning.   Also, that a lot of the information in print is for the ‘middle class’ and not real to what is happening especially with regards to the economy but then it’s always been that way.   Their were comments about the BBC and their online marketing tools.   How do charities get coverage which was interesting as they need to be genuine and ‘real’ which is so true, a celebrity doesn’t make the story any better unless they have been their and are hands on, a face is not always believable.

If you want to hear more about this event then you can go to www.editorialintelligence.co.uk and download the pod cast and hear all about it for yourself.   Or, if you tweet the tweets during the debate were going mad.


About sjdeventsltd

Owner of SJP Consultancy, specialising in offering, flexible services for all types of events, including fundraising projects in the charity sector.
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