Thursday, 30 September 2010

Council to "outsource" H&F News

In response to the Government acting against propaganda sheet H&F News our Council has decided not to give in, as it would see it, to the Fulham Chronicle - but to seek a private operator for H&F news instead, to operate at "arms length".

Roy Greenslade, the media commentator at the Grauniad, has the full details. But at first sight it looks like a very clever wheeze indeed. If the protestations of the Council are correct, and the new owners of H&F News really will be editorially independent - unlike now - then this will meet the diktat set down from Secretary of State Eric Pickles, who is determined to stamp out the sort of publicly funded propaganda that H&F News represents.

But if it does go ahead it would also represent a potential death knell for the Chronicle in its current form - the all important life-giving advertising revenue would presumably stay with H&F News and with no realistic prospect of that changing, Chronicle owners Trinity Mirror may have second thoughts about continuing the free-to-door model.

Interesting times ahead.


  1. Unless, of course, the Fulham Chronicle bids for it... ?

  2. indeed - but unless they have limitless money they wouldnt be able to afford the Chronicle PLUS the new title!

  3. Then merge the two things together? The Council essentially pays the Chronicle for their own on-going "section" in the paper where they can say what they like, and the Chronicle does the proper reporting.

    Although that would require a level of co-operation not seen since Virgin gave up fighting Sky...

  4. Re the outsourcing.
    This council in defence of H&F Views has gone on record as criticising Chronicle/Gazette as not being based in the borough so why would they look further afield for a 'Business Partner' to run a paper.
    The Editorial will be independent and can criticise the council. Yeah right.
    The main source of profit will be in advertising revenue, and one of the big contracts will be the councils Statatory Notices.
    So this 'Independent Business Partner' is going to critisice the council at the risk of knowing if they lose the contract the business will be unsustainable. I don't think so!
    The Council needs to define it's use of the word 'engage' as in engage with residents becuase they seem more intent on getting their message across than hearing the views of residents.
    There are many things they could do to give residents a voice one of which is to allow recognised orgainsed groups a place/link on the councils web site,
    they could leave the comments box open on you tube,
    they could have a residents chat board where residents can introduce and comment on subjects that affect them,
    they could also be more open in the way they conduct their business,
    they could film all council meetings not just the ones where they fight the 'Wicked Witches' of Thames Water and the Post Office,
    they could deliver each month a copy of council committees/minutes agendas - this could also carry advertising (for what I dare not say).
    What they should not be allowed to do is in anyway attempt to set themselves up as a news agency.
    It has been pointed out that most papers have a political bias this is true.
    Individuals wishing to use his/her money to try to influence public opinion is not new or uncommon.
    Elected bodies wishing to use public money to try to influence public opinion is something we must stand against.
    Some people have said they like H&F Views because it gives them a feel good factor - they do not want to read stuff that depresses them.
    This is a dangerous thought-in times of War governments have lied and used propaganda. This is because it was neccessary to raise moral of the population to fight and ensure survival.
    Every 4 years this council comes up for election. How people vote is dependent on how they feel. If they are constantly kept on a high by denial of knoweldge of issues going on around them they are more likely to vote for the party in power. This is the purpose of H&F Views to keep individuals in power by some sort of journalistic opium. They do not want people to know what is happening in the lives of their fellow citizens so they use phrases like 'more readers than our competitors' etc to infer their is the superior paper and dissuade people from buying the independent papers.
    This council has been in a circulation war with the independent press for sometime. What people should be aware of is it is not a commercial war.
    To attract advertising/sponsorship the council merely has to guarentee they will distribute to a number of address. As I have said earlier they can attach adverts to any number of documents that may be in the public interest.
    The circulation war is about the control of information.
    Information which will influence public feeling and therefore information which will affect election results.

    If and I don't know that it is, but if it is a duty of the council to advertise something in the independent press then they either pay the going rate or they negotiate a deal with the established local papers.

    What they should not be allowed to do is set up a newspaper, or be involved in any form in the formation of a new paper with public funds or public officers.

    I know I've gone on. Thanks for watching my blog. See you next season?