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Currybet.net: Will social media’s influence on political engagement continue post-election?

The Guardian’s Martin Belam has produced a great summary of the panel debate at the launch of Nic Newman’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) paper on social media and the election, on his site currybet.net.

The research document, titled ‘UK Election 2010, mainstream media and the role of the internet’, outlines the significant role social media, in particular Twitter, played in informing the public during the election process.

One of the big questions which emerged from the panel debate was whether this social media engagement would continue now the election is over:

People need something to be engaged with. It remains to be seen whether the major parties will continue with digital campaigning, or whether, rather like leaflets, we will see a lot of them at election time and not much in between.

Outlining the main findings, Newman reportedly told the audience that Twitter became a “political newswire” as well as having a direct impact on the behaviour of politicians.

Reports Belam:

The best of the social media – jokes, spoof posters, reaction on Twitter – was reflected and amplified by the mainstream media. This ultimately influenced the behaviour of the politicians. David Cameron, for example, toned down his habit of citing anecdotal stories of people he met after it was spoofed online.

(…) William Hague announcing he was about to go back into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats via Twitter suggesting the service was beginning to be used as ‘a political newswire’.

See Martin Belam’s full post here…

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‘The day Gordon Brown resigned': behind-the-scenes at Sky News

June 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Journalism

Video from Sky News showing how it put together its coverage of Gordon Brown’s resignation and the post-election coalition talks between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.



Video also available at this link…

Related reading: Sky News’ Niall Paterson on “bigotgate” and the parliamentary press pack.

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Charlie Beckett: ‘How do you report a hung parliament?’

May 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

POLIS director Charlie Beckett looks at the challenges a hung parliament poses for journalists:

The likelihood of a hung parliament raises all sorts of interesting procedural issues for journalists – especially the BBC and other Public Service Broadcasters. How do you report impartially and proportionately and how do you avoid getting bogged down in procedural detail? And how will our partisan press respond?

Generally, governments are given the dominant position in news coverage and allowed to dictate terms and set agendas because they have the popular mandate. New governments also tend to get a honeymoon period where the media allow them to set out their stall and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Full post at this link…

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PDA: Andrew Sparrow on liveblogging the general election

May 10th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

For the 2010 general election, the Guardian’s senior political correspondent Andrew Sparrow has been tasked with liveblogging the event on an almost daily basis. In this post for PDA he explains his approach, the practical considerations and the benefits for journalists and readers:

I live blog a lot and I believe the format – minute-by-minute updates, combining news, analysis and links – allows journalists to report events with more thoroughness and immediacy than if they are just writing stories (…) If journalism is the first draft of history, live blogging is the first draft of journalism. It’s not perfect, but it’s deeply rewarding – on any day, I was able to publish almost every snippet that I thought worth sharing, which is not the case for anyone who has to squeeze material into a newspaper – and it beats sitting on a battlebus.

On a typical day the site’s liveblog generated between 100,000 and 150,000 page views, rising to 2 million on election night, adds Sparrow.

Full post at this link…

See the results of our poll on the best journalists, tweeters and bloggers of #ge2010…

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#ge2010: Times experiments with news and polls tracker

May 7th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

As part of its election coverage the Times attempted to chart the relationship between the news agenda, represented by Times reports and articles, and the political parties’ perfomances in the polls.

It looks like this:

And works like this:

Each bubble in the above graph is a news story. Its size reflects the number of comments it received on our site, and its position (on the y axis) indicates the number of recommendations the story received. (The basic idea here is that, the higher and larger the bubble, the more ‘important’ the news story, assuming that larger, more important stories tend to get commented on and recommended more.) Colours show to which party a story relates. The lines show (depending on the tab) either Populus polling results, or the number of seats the parties were predicted to win during the campaign based on Ladbrokes odds, which are used elsewhere on the site.

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#ge2010: Election Night review – a night of TV drama starting in Northern Ireland

May 7th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Comment

Broadcast journalism lecturer at Coventry University John Mair reviews last night’s election coverage from the BBC from his post in the broadcaster’s Northern Ireland election newsroom:

Lunchtime Friday and still no clear answer. The British people have spoken but in a divided way. The politicians are wriggling to get advantage or cling on to power (you decide). The most exciting election campaign of modern times has been followed by the most exciting night of election drama of modern times.

Nowhere was the drama greater than here in Northern Ireland where I was working on election night – the other election, often ignored by those ‘across the water’. First casualty, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson whose 31-year stint as MP for East Belfast ended in stunning defeat by a woman of the centre – Naomi Long of the Alliance Party. Robinson has had an annus horibbulis having to face television investigations announcing his wife’s affair and, after that, his own land dealings came under scrutiny. Last night was his nadir. He rushed to the count at Newtonards Leisure Centre, spoke briefly to the local media and was then ushered out. Now he has gone to ground to lick his wounds and fend off predators.

The Robinson moment was magic telly: milked by the local outputs, but less so by the networks. They wanted more of Lady Sylvia Hermon, who defected from the Unionists when they joined with the UK Conservatives. The Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) were seen off in what should have been their heartland North Antrim by Ian Paisley Jnr – brands are as important in politics as anywhere else. He and father – who preceded him in the seat for 40 years – showed their contempt for the TUV by singing the national anthem before his victory speech. Worse for ‘moderate’ Unionism, Sir Reg Empey lost out in South Antrim to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The planned Tory beachhead in Northern Ireland became a washout. It was a media confection.

The BBC Northern Ireland Election programme ran for seven-plus hours using all the 18 counts at eight locations as their prime material. Down-the-line interviews galore at the outside broadcasts based on deep local knowledge. The local commercial station – Ulster Television – did not even make it to the starting line. No election news between 10:30pm and 09.30am. That did not go unnoted by fellow hacks.

The BBC’s ‘Dimbleby programme’ had a magnificent set on its side and some pretty special Jeremy Vine virtual reality graphics too – my favourites being the Downing Street staircase or the House of Commons with real faces smiling and nodding. Modern Television journalism is about entertainment and keeping it simple. Nowhere more so than in the use of electronic graphics. All of that plus live reporting from many of the big beasts of telly journalism. It’s fascinating to see how many of them still used the basic journalistic skills, like Kirsty Wark doorstepping/walking besides and interviewing Nick Clegg on the hoof on the way to his count.

It’s difficult from inside my bubble to know how the drama played out in the nations. It certainly kept us rapt in this television control room. You could not have written the script. But the 2010 General Election story has not yet reached its final chapter. Plenty more drama to come…

Read John Mair’s report from the BBC’s TV ‘hub’ in Belfast on the build-up to election night.

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#ge2010: How to follow election day online

May 6th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism

As live events go, election night has to be one of the biggest opportunities for journalists and news organisations to get tweeting, liveblogging, mapping and more. Here’s our guide to the best online coverage of election day and plans for tonight’s results, as we look at what journalists’ can learn for future live events and how readers (and voters) are being kept informed:

Produced in associated with Channel 4 and the New Statesman, Guardian.co.uk’s election coverage features a map plotting voter turnout. It’s reliant on people tweeting when they’ve voted with the first half of their postcode and the #ukvote hashtag, but gives a good real-time picture of where the votes are coming in from.

The goal of the experiment is to inspire more people to vote and to help get a sense of turnout during the course of the day and across the country. Channel 4 News is also trying to gauge turnout using a poll as part of its election day liveblog, which dominates its homepage today.

The Guardian has also changed the layout of its homepage to incorporate more election coverage – particularly like the way it highlights the latest updates from its election day liveblog as part of the top stories box.

Ahead of tonight’s results the Telegraph has a handy guide to when constituencies will be declaring and which party is targeting which seats.

The BBC has its live page up and ready for tonight and is promising to use all its multimedia resources to boost its online coverage, with a liveblog of the results for those following online and on mobile and streams of the best radio and TV footage from the BBC via the website. Particularly nice is the slideshow of how to vote – the practicalities not which party to vote for and the option to download an election night party pack.

As part of extensive election night coverage online, Sky News has a handy, hour-by-hour guide of what happens on election day and has Facebook chat around the election added to its liveblog, so users can post status updates from the Sky site.

The Financial Times is hosting an election special on its Westminster blog for election day; while the Times’ group blog Election ’10 is worth a mention for today’s blow-by-blow coverage and its offering of analysis, news and commentary throughout the election campaigns, balancing live and need-to-know with deeper commentary.

The Liverpool Daily Post has an excellent election section and its election map that will show the results for its local seats as they come in is a great feature. This set-up is being used by other Trinity Mirror titles too, including the Birmingham Post and Mail titles, which have also adopted the group blog Party Central for local politicians set up by the Liverpool Post & Echo:

The hyperlocal election:

We’ve written about the opportunities for hyperlocal, independent news sites in covering the general election and its seems tonight will be no exception. Expect liveblogs – Sunderland blog SR2 Blog is hoping to be one of the first sites to report a results, while Blog Preston has recruited student bloggers for the task; and live tweeting – new site for Manchester Inside the M60 will be tweeting the results live and posting them to the site as soon as they come in. Let us know if you’re planning something special for tonight or trying out some live reporting for the first time in the comments below.

Non-news sites:

Tweetminster gives an unrivalled view of tweeting going on during election day, filtering tweets from politicians and prospective parliamentary candidates, as well as mapping voter turnout by tweet and trending topics.

Facebook has set up a live vote count showing how many Facebook users have said they’ve voted, as well as pulling in news updates from external sites and polling users on its Democracy UK page.


And finally, if just for fun, a picture of how tweeters are aligned by party from @jaygooby.

If you’re a journalist, blogger or just an interested party let us know how you’re reporting and following election night as it happens.

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Armando Iannucci: #bigotgate turned UK media into ‘pack of shrieking gibbons’

May 4th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Creator of TV political satire The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci on bigotgate and what it says about the UK’s media:

The journalist from Sky News was in some kind of hysterical state of tumescence as he cackled “Gordon Brown’s done a gaffe and we wondered if you’d come on to respond. You’ve got to see it!” on my answering service, and I’m sorry I deleted it rather than release it in to the public domain. The BBC was no less sensationalist in its pokey recording of Brown sitting listening to his own surreptitiously recorded voice played back to him.

It’s at these moments that you stand back and see, not a nation debating its future, but a pack of shrieking gibbons.

Thankfully, though, Bigotgate seems to have had no impact on the polls. This has restored my faith in this election as a sober, sincere and considered affair, though it’s shed a light on what the media machine can do when it’s taken too much Red Bull.

Full article at this link…

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YouGov accuses blogger of libel over polling allegations

Former diplomat and blogger Craig Murray has been accused of libel by polling company YouGov.

YouGov is unhappy with what it claims are defamatory allegations made by Murray about its leaders’ debate poll and its CEO, Stephan Shakespeare.

Murray has as yet not removed the posts in question and has also reproduced the letter his ISP reportedly received from YouGov’s lawyers, on his blog.  We contacted YouGov’s lawyer, Dan Tench at Olswang LLP, this morning.

“We have written to Mr Murray stating that he has published serious false and defamatory allegations regarding Mr Shakespeare and YouGov and asked him to remove them,” YouGov told Journalism.co.uk, via its lawyer.  “We still hope that he will do so.”

We asked why it was pursuing this action: “Mr Murray has made serious false and defamatory allegations regarding Mr Shakespeare and YouGov.  He has not sought to substantiate these allegations at all.  Mr Shakespeare and YouGov understandably want these allegations to be taken down.

“We will continue to press Mr Murray to remove these allegations.  If this is unsuccessful, we may have no option but to approach the webhost once again and ask in light of Mr Murray’s wholly  irresponsible actions, to take down the allegations.  We hope very much that that will not be necessary.”

Index on Censorship also reports on the incident at this link…

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Today: Slideshow behind-the-scenes of Private Eye’s election special

April 29th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Private Eye as it puts together its election special.

They said there’d be no satire after Thatcher; they said there’d be no satire after Blair; they said there’d be no satire after Bush. There will be, because they all make mistakes. They are ready to be parodied already, so we don’t have to worry too much.

View the slideshow at this link…

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