Monday, January 26, 2009

An old debate rears its head again

Today's call by the House of Lords' Communications Committee for the introduction of televised lobby briefings inevitably gave me a certain sense of deja vu. They were talking about this back in 2004 when I left the Lobby and, given the usual pace at which things tended to change in that august place, I'm not entirely surprised to find they are still talking about it now.

I suppose that now I am a website editor I ought to be instinctively in favour of the committee's proposal for video-streaming the briefings on the No10 site, but the regional press print journalist in me still suspects that it would be bad news for the sector.

To me, what was so remarkable about the lobby briefings was how incredibly democratic they were, in the sense that a regional political reporter like myself had as much opportunity to ask a question as the political editor of the BBC. That would no longer be the case if they were televised, as the broadcasters would invariably fight to get their questions in first for the requisite news footage.

I was surprised to find that my written contribution to the original Phillis Review on government comunications in 2003 in which this issue was also raised is still available online at the Cabinet Office archive. You can read it in full HERE.

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skipper said...

Slightly surprised re what you say about the democratic side of the brioefings- I thought the big TV editors-Robinson, Boulton etc, got first bite with questions. No?