Death of a thousand cuts for local commercial radio

Last week’s news that Global Radio is to shut half of its local Heart stations is thoroughly depressing, not least if you’re in my old area of Devon, where the five local Heart stations in Barnstaple, Exeter, Torquay, Plymouth and the South Hams will be merged into one Devon-wide station based in Exeter. My thoughts go out to my former colleagues who will face a battle to keep their jobs.

Let’s put the sentimental aspect of a former GCap employee out of the way for a moment. This is a further blow to teenagers and graduates wanting to start a career in broadcasting.

The Sun: how not to win friends or influence bloggers

EDIT: Since posting this last night, The Sun have since dropped the World Cup blogger sweepstake after Who Ate All The Pies and other blogs complained.

The Sun's World Cup Sweepstake page

Look at the screenshot of The Sun’s World Cup Blogger Sweepstake above. If you were a PR who’s been pitching football bloggers recently you might skim the blogs and think “Wow, that is a pretty impressive line up of bloggers. They’ve even managed to get some notoriously hard-to-reach, popular and high-class well respected blogs on board. I wonder how they managed that?”

Short answer: They didn’t.

Peru: slow progress for the relief effort

The floods in Peru have long since stopped making the news in the UK, but the relief effort still has a long way to go. Around 30-40 thousand people have been affected by the floods. Many are still living in tents or temporary accommodation. Houses are in a state of near-collapse. Some people have, quite literally, lost everything.

Andrew Dare, who is based in Peru, returned to some of the worst-affected areas. His report shows how bad the situation is.

Peru: is the aid effort good enough?

Until this time last week, my knowledge of Peru probably extended as far as Nolberto Solano and Paddington Bear. And that was about it.  Yet this last week has meant I’ve been reading more about the South American country than I’d ever have envisaged. And feel I know enough to blog a couple of questions over the natural disaster.

Before I do, I’m well aware that while my focus on here has been spreading the word about my girlfriend, now safely rescued, there is also a big need for aid and a human cost to this all.

Cancer jab follow-on

Just a quick(ish) addition to the post I wrote at the start of the week about the Sunday Express’ “Jab as deadly as the cancer” article about the cervical cancer jab.

Ben Goldacre has covered the story in his Bad Science column, and it’s quite damning, especially his conversation with the expert, Dr Diane Harper. I’ll repost a paragraph from his article, which speaks for itself.

“…I contacted Professor Harper. For avoidance of doubt, so that there can be no question of me misrepresenting her views, unlike the Express, I will explain Professor Harper’s position on this issue in her own words. They are unambiguous.

Oh my science (2)

There’s reporting that you disagree with and then there’s an occasional point of journalism that’s just wrong. Not just wrong, but dangerously misleading to a degree that goes beyond scary.

Case in point – the Sunday Express’ front page from yesterday: “JAB AS DEADLY AS THE CANCER

Now, with the death of Natalie Morton, hours after she’d received the cervical cancer vaccine jab [1] was always going to lead to some interesting reporting. Some has been good, some has been bad and some has been scaremongering. Especially after the point where it was established that she died from a tumour and not the jab.

NightJacking anonymity

Earlier today, Mr Justice Eady [1] ruled that the author of the NightJack blog could not stay anonymous. This will probably mean nothing to most people, but could be a significant case law ruling when it coming to blogging and, potentially, whistleblowing.

If you’ve never heard of NightJack, he’s a policeman who blogged anonymously and candidly about his job. It was an eye-opener and a great read that made you emphasise with hiss job. The blog won an Orwell Award for the quality of it’s writing.

Our survey says…

… or why you should take Twitter lists with a pinch of salt.

There’s nothing a geek likes more than a good list and as Twitter is full of geeks, there’s nothing us geeks like more than a good list about Twitter. It’s pretty common to see lists of top Twitterers on certain topics or locations.

Of course the lists also can provide a useful guide to who’s who and who’s getting it right, especially where brands are concerned, especially as more and more companies realise it’s worth being on Twitter.

Social media and the soapbox

Gosh, there’s nothing like a few well placed words for kicking off a party political crisis. Or, rather, there’s nothing like a slightly weird video that presents the Prime Minister of this country looking like a strange gurning alien for kicking off a party political crisis.

Earlier this week, Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote in the Observer:

“YouTube if you want to. But it’s no substitute for knocking on doors or setting up a stall in the town centre.”

Come on PR, you can do better than this

Somehow, somewhere, one of the email addresses I use at work has got itself onto some kind of PR mailing list. How this happened I’m not exactly sure, but it’s the only explanation I can think of for the sudden influx of assorted press releases landing in the inbox each day.

Given that the address in question is a PR address, I doubt they’ll be getting coverage any time soon.

Interestingly, I’ve had a few colleagues and fellow PRs mention that they’ve been getting assorted press releases as well. There are clearly a few people out there in my chosen industry who haven’t done their homework.