#JEEcamp: What does the election result mean for publishers and start-ups?

We had breakout groups at today’s JEECamp pre-lunch and I got too absorbed in my chosen session (media law & ethics) to tweet or blog but you can find a summary by @owmyfoothurts here, at this link.

The next session:

Panel: What does the election result mean for publishers and startups? Siôn Simon (former Labour creative industries minister), Matt Wardman (Blogger, The Wardman Wire), Stewart Kirkpatrick (Founder, Caledonian Mercury), and Mark Pack (co-editor, Liberal Democrat Voice).

A few notes:

The session kicks off with a discussion on government data. Sion Simon says he can’t imagine why the new Lib-Con coalition would not proceed with open data plans. But, he says, it would be a new government getting the credit for the spadework a previous government had done.

Then over to blogger Mark Pack: he says there’s huge amount of information out there and it’s a necessity for lots of people outside traditional media to make use of that data. This, he says, will give a huge boost to hyperlocal and outside traditional media coverage. It will be painful for local authorities to be held to account (but it’s important).

Matt Wardman pays tribute to Tom Watson (not in the room) and Sion Simon for their role in the campaign for open data. But for him the big trend is the possible break down of the Westminster “political bubble” and the London “media bubble”, as independent outlets break stories.

How it will the coalition affect reportage?

Sion Simon says we’re in the honeymoon period of government at the moment (Tony Blair’s was ‘like living in a pink candyfloss cloud’ he says).  “Everybody loves it, it’s all great”. But, he adds, all the qualitative research that been done over the past few years shows that the public ask ‘why can’t they all get on with each other’. The public reaction to the coalition then, is positive.

The newspapers are motivated by, or reflect, the readers. Over time, it will give way to a negative dynamic: the tension between the fourth estate and the political classes.  Don’t expect the big society to save the coalition from the press, warns Simon.

Matt Wardman is hopeful for resources such as theyworkforyou.com, where you’ll be able to look up what ministers said 14 years ago. “I want to see that happen at a local level,” he says. Local bloggers need to pick up the sort of skills to do freedom of information requests. He wants to see the sort of skills that are used nationally and used more widely.

The Birmingham City students have liveblogged the session here.

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