What on earth is the NUJ doing supporting council newspapers?

And so the fight we thought was almost over takes another peculiar turn. Yes, I’m back on about council newspapers. Bear with though, I’ll try to make this one interesting. In the latest edition of its magazine, the Journalist, the NUJ gives some background to its opposition of Government plans to restrict the number ofContinue reading “What on earth is the NUJ doing supporting council newspapers?”

The councils showing that open isn’t just about data, it’s a state of mind too

Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been critical of councils which tried to set themselves up in opposition to local newspapers, trying to use their local authority advertising as a way to create propaganda rags which stifled political debate and presented an over-rosy and misleading view of life in their area. What wasContinue reading “The councils showing that open isn’t just about data, it’s a state of mind too”

Council newspapers: The council with its own newspaper which wants to stifle council debate on its own newspaper

I thought I’d done writing about council newspapers when communities secretary Eric Pickles introduced his new code of conduct which prohibited councils from publishing their own newspapers more than four times a year. Of course, given that Mr Pickles’ rules on council newspapers are a code of conduct, rather than law, there was always aContinue reading “Council newspapers: The council with its own newspaper which wants to stifle council debate on its own newspaper”

Council Newspapers: It’s more than just the money which makes them so wrong

The backbench communities and local government commitee of MPs which met before Christmas to discuss plans to restrict the publication of council newspapers last week returned its verdict: That the plans should be revisited. The MPs, who heard evidence from those in favour of council newspapers – such as the mayor of Hackney, Jules PipeContinue reading “Council Newspapers: It’s more than just the money which makes them so wrong”

Council newspapers: How the Mayor of Hackney proved why council newspapers need to be scrapped

Last week, the thorny issue of council newspapers returned to Westminster as the communities and local government select committee reviewed the new local government publicity rules, which have been proposed by new communities secretary Eric Pickles. (watch here) At the heart of the new publicity code is a rule which forbids councils from publishing newspapersContinue reading “Council newspapers: How the Mayor of Hackney proved why council newspapers need to be scrapped”

The council which tells people how to choose a good bottle of wine

One of the many allegations made by the Conservative Party in the run up to the general election was that Labour had allowed the state to get involved in too many aspects of life – both at central and local government level. Maybe it’s ironic, then, that a flagship Tory council this week took aContinue reading “The council which tells people how to choose a good bottle of wine”

Did Tower Hamlets on the telly prove how futile council newspapers are?

Last week, Channel 4’s Undercover Boss programme featured a chap called Kevan Collins, the chief executive of Tower Hamlets Council. The basis of the show is quite simple: Boss goes ‘under cover’ with his employees to find out what life is really like on the shop floor, then makes some changes. If you’re the bossContinue reading “Did Tower Hamlets on the telly prove how futile council newspapers are?”

Council newspapers: One hyperlocal site’s response

No guesses for which side of the fence Sir Ray Tindle sits on when it comes to council newspapers. As he told Friday’s Local Heroes conference, they are a threat to democracy in this country. No arguments here for that statement. Statistics presented by Kingston University senior lecturer James Morrison at the same conference suggestedContinue reading “Council newspapers: One hyperlocal site’s response”

So, where now for council newspapers?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been contacted by a number of council PR officers keen to distance themselves, and their profession in general, from the rogue band of council newspapers which have hit the headlines in recent weeks. Strangely, these council press officers also write for or edit council publications in their ownContinue reading “So, where now for council newspapers?”

Council newspapers: Revealed – the people who believe what’s written in them

Regular readers of this blog will know I don’t have much time for council newspapers. I’ve no objection to councils communicating with the public via newsletters or even magazines, but harnessing the council’s advertising spend to fund propaganda-filled publications designed to fool members of the public into thinking they are reading real newspapers is somethingContinue reading “Council newspapers: Revealed – the people who believe what’s written in them”