Do any of the people writing articles on …

Comment posted Council cannot say HOW they decide on media accreditation by Struan.

Do any of the people writing articles on ForArgyll have NUJ memberships?

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48 Responses to Do any of the people writing articles on …

  1. I wonder if Jane Fowler, Head of Improvement and HR – while apparently the line manager for the council’s communications team – is perhaps really quite unfamiliar with protocol for dealing with the press? Without wishing to make excuses, this would rather seem to be par for the course for our council, where senior management responsibility for a quite remarkable number of council functions has been in the hands of people with no experience or qualifications whatsoever in the specifics of those functions, for many years now.

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    • CEO Sally Louon is line manager for the communications office which is why we addressed our first emails to her. There is no operational communications manager at present.

      Mrs Loudon delegated the issue we raised to Jane Fowler, whose job description and presumably experience is no great fit for such responsibility.

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  2. I do wish that you get someone to the meeting. If only to have the Leader of the Council countermand any attempt by any of the staff to exclude your representative from attending.
    It would be a first test of the new administration’s determination to run things properly at Kilmory – hopefully a successful test.

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  3. From Young Pretender
    How does Argyll & Bute get any information if For Argyll are excluded , nonsense ; get there early so you can be a member of the public and take a Thermos.

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  4. It would seeem that there is a news embargo within the council. For Argyll must not be the only agency deprived of news. The Council’s own website is bereft of any information about the new administration.
    In an age of easy communication this is most unsatisfactory

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    • Noticed that to Ken. They were always quick enough to update it before – or is it just because there are no staff left in the media section?

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  5. I don’t see any problem with ForArgyll attending as any other member of the public, is there?

    However if they attempt to go as members of the press then surely they don’t have any more right that I or you do, do they?

    ForArgyll does not claim to report evenly and give an unbiasedly record events (the opposite in fact), it sounds as if they are not members of any press association, nor it appears do they follow any professional code of conduct.

    So yes they have a blog, so do lots of people, but are they the press – no more so that anybody else it seems.

    Shall we all wear press badges and attempt to gain access to meetings with cameras and microphones – why not, what is the difference?

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    • We are very happy to attend as anything. The issue is that if we revert to our proper and former status as a news and information service, we are guaranteed a place. We cannot afford to drop a day to get to Kilmory and find that we are told there is no room in the public spaces – as has happened before.

      You are behind the times in terms of the nature of journalism today – and I speak as someone with 20 years of experience as a journalist, feature writer and editor, watching and moving with profound change.

      The power of the internet as, by far, the major news source is that what you call ‘balance’ – which was often little more than an irresponsible failure to discriminate between the evidentially substantial and the empty sound bite – is now achieved better and differently.

      We are free to come to judgment (on evidence, which we always provide to support our positions) BECAUSE anyone of a contrary view is free to express that view (evidenced or not) alongside the article in question and published by us. We are unaware of any other news organisation which has as open and inclusive a policy of comment publication as we do.

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      • “The issue is that if we revert to our proper and former status as a news and information service, we are guaranteed a place”.

        So if I setup a blog, upon which I soapbox my opinions, and I turn up at a meeting with a microphone and camera why should I not be guaranteed a place?

        What would make me any less a “news and information service” than ForArgyll?

        I can see why ForArgyll should not be regarded as a news and information service. It does not differentiate opinion from factual information and the opinions expressed often seem poorly supported by or even at odds with what information content there is.

        Entertainment and opinion yes, news and information no.

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          • But, ferryman, in countering what you term ‘otherwise might be mistaken as news and information’ you seem to be lacking in balance, as it seems to me that – by and large – it really is news and information.

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  6. I hope the new council administration opens up the meetings at the council, so all in Argyll and Bute are made aware of what is discussed and more important what decisions are arrived at.
    As far as the comments above are concerned ‘For Argyll’ is no different from these other bastions of balanced journalism whose staff are NUJ members, ‘The Scotsman’, ‘The Herald’, the ‘BBC’, ‘STV’, not to mention the’Daily Record’,'The Sun’, ‘The Express’, and the ‘Daily Mail’.
    For Argyll at least is interested in our local area and provides a first class service . Then I suppose you can always resort to waiting for the ‘Oban Times’

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    • When it comes to being “regulated by (someone)”, I believe that Express Group Newspapers do not subscribe (wrong word but I can’t think of a better at the moment, will edit later if poss) to the Press Complaints Commission and therefore is not “regulated by it”. So the Express would be excluded from Kilmory on that ground.
      I cannot imagine that all Sky and News International journalists are required by their employer to be members of the NUJ. So they would be excluded on that ground.
      I support the comment by Robert Allan.

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      • Express Group journalists might be excluded from Kilmory on the grounds that they work for Richard Desmond – and you could be searching for a while to find the right words to describe his relationship to the Press Complaints Commission.

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  7. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. If you want the privileges of the press then all you have to do is fill in a form. Until you fill in the form and then they decline your accreditiation you don’t really have an argument. Filling in press accreditation forms is pretty run of the mill stuff – few organisations admit press without it.

    Surely you are easily able to meet their criteria and your editorial policy covers any code of conduct which the council might need? And even if you can’t obtain press privileges you can still attend as a member of the public. I believe the council applies a policy of first come, first seated so make sure you’re there early!

    As i understand it, the communications team has reported to Jane Fowler for more than two years, albeit under the suffocating direction of the chief executive. I don’t know if she has the skills and experience mentioned here but under her management the communications team is currently manned by two temps and a trainee. Perhaps if she’s questioning your credentials you could ask about hers?

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  8. A pragmatic approach is needed on the part of the council. ForArgyll provides a pretty much unique service in terms of breadth and immediacy of coverage of stories relevant across Argyll. As such it has built up a sizeable community of regular readers and commentors.

    That fact should be recognised as reason enough for accreditation and guaranteed accommodation at meetings. There should be no need for membership of official bodies or unions.

    In the longer term, hopefully the council will be able to put live video internet streaming facilities in place, so that meetings can be ‘attended’ by the public across Argyll without having to incur the enormous time and fuel costs of travelling to Lochgilphead.

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      • Exactly, fill in the form.

        Newsroom wrote “He will micro-blog from the meeting – a silent and unobtrusve procedure now generally accepted in the public sector, in government and in courts.”

        In some cases it is accepted that accredited media can communicate live. However Joe public cannot. Try as a member of the public to tweet or blog from Court and see where it gets you. This is another example of misleading information from the newsroom (aka soapbox).

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    • Tim hits the nail on the head. A council confident in its actions and prepared to accept challenge would welcome an open door policy to reporting.

      One thing I can guarantee is that if FA were fawning over the previous administration they would have been allowed into every meeting regardless of accreditation.

      They were not banned due to not having the appropriate membership or forms signed (or whatever it is that is required, something the Council should know if they are going to use it as an excuse to restrict access). They were banned because the Administration, and CMT, didn’t like what they were saying.

      All press are born equal but some are more equal than others appears to have been previous administration’s mindset.

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      • The Scottish Parliament does not have an open door, why should the council?

        The Scottish Parliament will allow websites to report but before accrediting them it requires that “Such website should provide sufficiently balanced, regular coverage of the work of Parliament with the right to reply within reporting.”

        Note the word “Balanced”, and the right to reply within REPORTING.

        ForArgyll editorial policy states “Our general policy is to back the case with the greatest merit, noting any significant contra-indications but not attempting to construct an artificial ‘balance’”.

        So ForArgyll supports a position which it prefers and does not attempt to strike a balance, it is a blog not a news and information service. One reason they are perhaps trying to avoid completing forms is because they might, with cause, be rejected.

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  9. Hmmmm, you would need to play by the rules then. Web-blogging allows for unfounded accusations to be thrown about without recourse which isn’t uncommon on this site. I suspect the reason FA isn’t aligning itself to official media protocols is something to do with the potential legal implications associated with that and I suspect that you are already fully aware of that! i.e. publish an unfounded article /accusations /comment on a web blog and really there isnt much anyone can do about it however publish it on the basis of being an official news forum and then your into a different legal position. As Michael Banks states -simply fill in the form and ignore the NUJ member no request if this isnt the case.

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    • I think FA has an over exaggerated view of it’s own self importance at times when it comes to reporting. It is NOT an official media outlet, just amateur wannabe journalists. Why should a council change its policy just to suit FA’s needs. FA does indeed throw accusations around, in certain stories somewhat factually inaccurate. Now that is probably because someone is feeding them little chunks, but good journalists double check their sources. FA seems to have a bit of a vindictive streak at times and could possibly be accused of helping to blight the careers of council staff by painting an unflattering portrait of their behaviour. But that’s a different story.

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      • Michael – don’t you think that obstructing access to council meetings just encourages suspicions that there’s skulduggery at work? Surely the more access to council deliberations, the less room for assumptions and suspicions. My impression is that we’ve had years of cosy limited-access deliberations that wouldn’t have borne close scrutiny when it’s a question of open and fair administration. Behaviour hardly likely to protect council staff from criticism and innuendo, justified or not.

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        • It would be helpful if Michael Banks could direct me to an OFFICIAL media outlet reporting the deliberations of A&B Council and, for that matter, the Scottish Parliament, that is not selective and partial in its reporting.

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        • Why should OUR council staff suffer criticism and innuendo at the hands of a blog?

          Is this news reporting;
          “X delegated the issue we raised to Y, whose job description and presumably experience is no great fit for such responsibility.” ?

          To be critical of an organisation or a post within an organisation is one thing but to name individuals who are simply performing their job is quite another.

          Lets hope the new administration is supportive of its employees and takes vigourous action against people who cause them stress and perhaps libel them.

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          • Ferryman: then let’s hope the new administration also make the staff accountable for their actions.
            I personally don’t like the implied class term “employee” “employer” they are both equal as Representatives of the company, Council or corporation

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  10. I have to say I am as surprised and astounded as Newsie tha tthey have not yet received their media accreditation from the Council newco.

    After all FA has been so far up the ‘rag-bag Alliance’s'** collective bottie that it would require an operation to extract it.

    **Copywright Newsie

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  11. “you have your script prepared, Simon?”.

    This wee dig from the man who has a comment and an opinion about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

    Gawd save us! You open the Oban Times and THERE HE IS AGAIN!!!!!

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  12. Robert, if you cannot remember (your name and your address – remember now?) your uttterly boring snorefest of a letter about ’5.5 metre roads’ in the OT – thank Gawd that you and me appear to be on opposite sides.

    When your full faculties return – don’t hesitate to post again… :)

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      • Just read my letter in the OT, Simon, and you’re lucky – it’s been ‘condensed’. Something that happens rarely, if at all, to comments in FA. If you want to see my letter in all its glory, Simon, the unexpurgated version is available in today’s Squeak – and will presumably afford you even greater cause to demonstrate your outrage. Enjoy.

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        • Your observations are correct. We do not edit comments in the normal sense of what that means.
          All we do is either remove unacceptable material (very rarely necessary) or remove entire comments in this vein (very rarely necessary).

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  13. Nah. You’re ok Robert I’ll steel myself to forgo the pleasure of reading the unedited version of your epistle to the squeak.

    Have a good day. :)

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