Random media thoughts – 15th September

It’s a busy week for politics and the media. Here are some of the things that have caught my attention.

Jeremy Corbyn

No one could have missed the landslide win Corbyn achieved in the Labour leadership election. As someone who takes a keen interest in the media I’ve been watching how it unfolds. Generally the reception has been biased to negativity. No news there. However I’m more interested in how a relatively inexperienced shadow cabinet and leadership team make use of the media. Today is the TUC (Trades Union Congress) conference where typically, Labour leaders get short shrift. Corbyn should be having a better ride so you would expect his speech to be trailed in the media. You know, the typical 8am headlines of “Corbyn is expected to say…” type thing. Not so.

Charlie Wheelan, spin doctor to Brown during the high Chancellor years picked up on this saying on Twitter:

“Someone please tell @jeremycorbyn that pre briefing speeches like gives two days headlines on your agenda not theirs”.

Andrew Sparrow’s live politics blog picked this up and reinforced the importance that:

“If you have a message, and you pre-brief it in advance, there is reasonable chance that journalists will stick it in the papers. If you don’t, they have to report something else, and you have less control over what they are going to say. None of this is very complicated…”

I’ll be listening to later news bulletins and following reaction with interest.

From Our Own Correspondent

I’m an unabashed radio junky however I particularly favour speech radio. I grew up with Radio 4 playing in the background and many memories are punctuated with sounds of different programmes. One of these is From Our Own Correspondent. The short reports by different journalists around the world give windows into often unreported issues and opened my eyes to a world I wanted to see. Over the years, foreign reporting has evolved beyond recognition due to social, technological, financial and stylistic changes. The special edition on Thursday 17th September at 9am is a debate looking into the changing role of international journalism.

Charlie Hebdo

It’s stark to consider that this week’s Charlie Hebdo frontpage made no, errr, front page (print or web) whatsoever, particularly the slew of coverage they received following the terrorist attack last year and the subsequent #JeSuisCharlie campaign. So, if you missed it, have a google, or a duckduckgo as I use. The Huffington Post cover this well. The latest edition features the usual Hebdo satyrical commentary only this time they use depictions of the body of refugee toddler, Aylan Kurdi. Initial reactions were angry, citing racism and exploitation of a dead child, not to mention outrage at the commentary on Islam/Muslims. I am currently flipping between this and the other reading that the cartoons are a stark commentary on Europe’s muddled or hostile response to the refugee crisis. The jury is still out for me. I’m leaning towards the latter though and uncomfortable on how Hebdo is drawing the line between raw satire and basic mocking.

Cultural Black Holes

Life is busy so I’ve rarely been someone to stick the TV on and see what is worth watching. Even less so having just had a baby. Someone said to me the first time round that you descend into a cultural black hole when a baby arrives and I think it’s a spot on observation. So I sought to rectify this and schlepped through my Prime account to see what TV box sets were worth watching. Crikey there’s a lot to choose from and I’m not going to admit here which ones I haven’t seen. Only to say, I’m currently demolishing The Following, a rather gory thriller series about a cult of serial killers with Kevin Bacon (FBI) and the wonderful James Purfoy (cult leader), ex RSC boy, taking the leading roles. It’s gloriously silly, dark and depressing and, as such, makes perfect viewing after a long day.

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