Archive for February, 2014

local news values

1 February 2014

Permissible news topics in England:

1. What the Prime Minister and other top pols say officially, and what the opposition says about what they say officially, and what the government says about what the opposition says about what they say officially. 
2. Crimes by and against poor people. 
3. “Human interest” morality plays: Caring mums. Scandal girls. Paedophiles and other predators.
4. Rah rah the third sector is doing its job fixing our broken people. Worry not.
5. Charity stunts to support third sector. Things people would do anyway (walking, running) and things they presumably wouldn’t (headshaving, wearing red noses).
6. Performance of NHS on KPIs.
7. Relative performance of state schools, in which it’s taken for granted the elite don’t have a stake. 
8. Price of publicly traded stock. 
9. The property ladder, with prices continually talked up: ENCLOSURES ARE IN PROGRESS. PANIC NOW, LANDLESS PEASANTS.
10. The weather. This, at least, we’re all in together.
11. Nation of shoppers, shop harder. Here, our friends and advertisers made some more stuff you don’t need. 
12. Damn foreigners are the reason you don’t have a job.
13. TEAM GB.
 
What we don’t talk about: 
1. Technical and offshoring destruction of many jobs in order to create a few for some people.
2. Retreat of central government from ensuring a decent life for people.
3. Sewing up of grants, jobs, networks.
4. Sensible alternatives to the real estate racket. Bring back council housing and the bedsit. Build tinyhomes from sheds and shipping containers. (They could not possibly be less nice than some of the flats I looked at. Richard Ayoade is also a fan.)
5. Perpetuation of Jacobean licensing regimes and rise of new guilds. Neofeudalism generally.
6. The death by a thousand cuts of “austerity.” The death of hope that austerity is temporary.
7. What’s so great, again? What is it that we need to “shout about”? Refine those marketing messages and they might work.
8. Dissociation from social life. Kids on their games, everyone on their devices. 
9. Structures that work to trap people: schools without extended-day daycare, villages without frequent mass transit.
10. What we can do to distribute income other than making stuff we don’t need.
Most of this is, of course, not specific to England, but the role of the charity sector, which seems to be largely supported by the very people it helps, rather than through philanthropy; the mania for licensing, guilds and league tables; and the structure of the housing sector with a huge part of it transferred in one big bang when council houses were privatized – those are special.