Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Distraction - or the future?

Most journalists see user-generated content as a distraction from their real job according to a paper given at the Future of Journalism conference......
Certainly I think Claire Wardle is right that attitudes at the BBC have changed a lot - even from 2007 when the survey was carried out. When I last visited the UGC hub there there was a definite pro-active attitude and eagerness to embrace Twitter, Flickr et al.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Blurring the lines

Good report in the Times yesterday about Lord May attacking the BBC's decision to drop Planet Relief Day. Although this is about global warming, the issue raised (and the reason why the BBC dropped the idea) is ongoing worries about impartiality - although it's only fair to say the BBC denies this in their response to the Times. Certainly however there has been ongoing criticism from certain sections about the BBC getting involved in big issues like this....and this is the result.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Red Cross begins lobbying....

Picked up PR Week today to find a hugely interesting article by Kate Magee which reveals that the British Red Cross is setting up its first advocacy department.
Magee writes that this marks 'a radical departure from its long-standing politically neutral stance'. The BRC has hired a senior associate from PR giant Burson Marsteller.
The Red Cross has traditionally eschewed advocacy, preferring to concentrate on providing aid on the ground. But the reality of NGOs in the 21st century is that advocacy is a central part. As Ian Bray of Oxfam told me for my original research 'We don't believe aid changes the world; politics does."
Oxfam and Save the Children have been some of the strongest players in this area - along with Christian Aid which has just launched its Mass Visual Trespass Campaign. All will be nervous however about the BRC's venture into this field: it will be seen as a potential sleeping giant awakening. The BRC has huge reach, influence and will be taken very seriously.
Will this compromise the Red Cross's famous neutrality? The agency has said it will be careful not to by lobbying all parties equally and making sure its campaigns focus on humanitarian consequences rahter than root causes. It'll be a tricky one. A cliche to raise Amartya Sen at this point but it's something that the BRC will have to bear in mind.