Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We here in Thanet are lucky to have five newspapers a week of varying quality, that in the main, they do a good job however here are a couple examples of news, which being cynical I question, and journalists don't appear to.

First in the frame is new boy in the pack yourthanet which has a contribution from a mystery writer (yourthanetblogger*) who has this rather rare comment "I enjoy both Yourkenttv and the channel run from County Hall". There's a stroke of luck a contributor with an appreciation of cheap local TV, although no reference to the apparent links between Local taxpayer funded Kent TV and Kent On Sunday's website, (don't think their contributor is a local tory supporter per chance).

Lastly KM's Thanet Extra has this gem in its report on Dreamland's Planning blueprint approved by the council "Residents were asked for their views on the planning guidance and the majority agreed with its proposals", well yes if you believe the spin but if like me, you glanced through the council press release at the time you will have noticed that 97% wished to see most of the Dreamland site retained as an amusement park and not the dogs breakfast dreamt up by Thanet council. For journalists only click here and acquaint yourself with the facts. Read objectively and you will find.

Now what do you think, our local newspapers have in common apart from geography is it a) a total commitment to be objective or b) a desire to acquire their share of the obscene amounts of money spent on advertising by local authorities, answers in the comments section please.

*I worry about anonymous bloggers not least when they turn up in local newspapers


  1. I liked the article on '' on this very issue and its worth having a look at.

  2. I don't agree that in the main they do a good job.

    IMO since about 1979 the IoT Gazette has towed a certain line.

    And IMO it has been to the detriment of the area.

    They seem interested in acquiring information but not to report. However I would not be so sure that the information goes totally unreported ...

    I think the quid pro quo goes a bit beyond ensuring the advertising revenue.

    Kent Messenger group got a copy of what I was writing to Prime Minister after he called for report 19th April 2005 the day of the third incident of failure of Maidstone Hospital backup generator.

    Who did Tony Blair sign a seventh Queens Award for industry to not much later ? And who is an owner of KM Group ?

    Surely not the former chairman of a backup generator manufacturer ?

    It is called life Tony.

  3. Do we really need that many papers? The majority of the news articles are recycled between each paper or simply filler content and so why do we have them all?

    I simply put it down to money and believe that the advertising comes first and the news is simply padded around it to make people read it, so in theory it doesn't really matter what the papers say as long as they are distributed and the money is taken.

    Quality and not quantity is what I've always been taught.

  4. And now snailspace has gone too. And I liked looking at his gentle artwork

  5. The thing is I know loads and loads of bits and pieces but I could not publish them. I can't verify things, I can't prove these things and that's why things don't always go in the paper.

    People seem to assume we're this, or we're that but all I personally am trying to do is report on what is happening, give it to you so you can understand it (because sometimes I sure as hell can't) and then it's up to you.

    Write a letter, phone me, send me an email. Loads of people aren't bothered about standing up, putting their name to a point of view.

    The great thing about all the bloggers is they slap whatever they want and don't let anyone know who they are.

  6. Spot on Gardfahl! Bloggers should not just pass 'info' to each other on blogs but also involve the other media. We have excellent local papers and the more the merrier as we can then get a very broad picture of what is happening on our 'patch' as a result.

    'Vested interests' do not like their business discussed in the open but this is the age of open information and good efficient organisations and individuals should be happy to embrace an open policy wherever possible. Such is the power of the www to the 'little person' that information unheard of 20 years ago can be dug out, looked at, cross referenced etc and anomalies and inconsistencies can be exposed. However, this does require responsibility and common-sense in the process.

  7. I think you have hit the nail on the head Tony. There is a high count of "weaselly words" going on in those examples. A majority might be 50.001% of the population but then again did you ask people in the "I agree club" because the majority there do agree. It's a bit like saying "some people claim..." without saying who those "some" are (should they exist) and if their opinion matters.

    In the past newspapers have both had to apologise and play catch up because of the lead taken by those that blog. Thanet would be clearly better for a massive increase not just in blogs but in blog writers. For this benefit platform (despite my opinions on the mater) is truly a secondary concern.

    I think the magic words here are "transparency", "honesty" and "balance" and I fully agree with you that as blog writers we may be the only ones able to effectively demand this from the traditional press.

    The free papers have always been about money and probably always will but the pay for papers have something of a duty (I feel) to the people that spend their money on buying said papers. I don't want to spend my money on a paper that will spin me sanctioned BS.

    The more frequently and often we, as bloggers, get to the story first - the harder and better the papers will have to work to not appear to be second to the "grass roots online lot" (us).

    Rick's point about the unreported duplicity going on is exactly why we need to develop a strong group voice. With less throwing our toys out of the pram at each other and more swallowing differences and making a real change. To that end I'm more than happy to share everything I know about blogging and learn anything I do not already know.

    We've started therefore let us continue.

  8. I'm sorry but all this 'us bloggers can make a difference' BS is making me want to throw up. We've witnessed recently that a judicious measure of intimidation can shut them up and make them all tow the party line, so forget freedom of speech.

    When will you realise that blogs are not newspapers (except for legal purposes of course as and when it suits), or a collective for the common good, merely people jotting down their own often inconsequential thoughts in a mostly dull and dreary way.

    If you listen closely you'll hear the sound of nobody listening!

  9. To be fair I think Your Thanet have printed letters and blogs that represent quite a mix of views. I'm sure they would print your words of wisdom, Tony, if you write 500 words or so on tax payers money and online TV...

    A currious or even surreal thing happened to me this week.

    I had an email from my contact at the Adscene - she asked me to edit my pearls of wisdom as my advert could not include certain words... they were not 4 letters...
    They were 'poo' and 'cancer'.

    How strange that you can't include these words in an advert in the Adscene?

    The really weird thing was they had already printed the advert - with the offensive words. They had printed the same offensive ad. for 2 weeks. I didn't want it to be in again!

  10. thanks for all the contributions on this one, despite gardfalh obvious faith in the press quite clearly reports concerning DREAMLAND consultation in the press were bland at the time and pretty much followed the thanet district council press release.

    I would like to address other points but since I've left home at 6 and got in at 20:00

    thnks to rick mr5s tp Matt whatsit and adem and all.

    unless I have a flyer tomorrow I will probably not post again till monday

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  13. Sorry. That was me. What I meant to say was:
    I believe the Times and Gazette are owned by Trinity Mirror group which is owned by Mirror Group which is owned by...etc..etc.
    So how dedicated to local interests is it likely to be?

  14. Not locally but he is busy on Zentelligence. There is a new 'Biggles' on!

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  16. Sue - the Times and Gazette used to be owned by Trinity Mirror but they were sold to the Daily Mail's Northcliffe Media Group last year which means these days they will be even less interested in uncovering anything the Thanet Tories want whitewashed IMO.

  17. The problem 'your thanet' seems to have is that it only appears to have one dedicated reporter who covers the entire IOT.

    Quite what the Gazette / Times / Extra's excuse is, is anyone's guess, they seem to have staff to spare...

    Having worked in the media though, I wouldn't take it all too seriously.
    You must remember that while the blogging community can fill pages with rumour and opinion with little or no comeback, the young hacks who plough the Thanet furrow have to work being mindful of libel and slander laws.

    Oh, and they're all paid very, very badly, I hear...

  18. anon !0:24 maybe you ought to check out the acres of trash that professional hacks churn out, i think they call it analysis when i do it i know its just so much bollix

    I for one take a lot of effort to get things right