Friday, January 23, 2009

Local media concerns top agenda

What a day. In the office at 6.30am - get some work done and across to Oxford for the Media Convention. Managed to get a question in to Andy Burnham about profitable local newspapers begging for state aid, trying to make the point that any aid of any sort should have stringent conditions about investment in editorial, stopping profiteering and a commitment to public service.

Then was part of a panel in the session The News is Dead, Long Live the News along with Peter Horrocks, Lord Norman Fowler and Charlie Beckett from Polis. Of course news isn't dead but it is danger of being killed off by profiteering, poor management and reckless borrowing (that's my 7 minute speech in 20 words). There was a good degree of agreement that new media offers great new opportunities to journalism if companies invest in building quality content and serving local communities. Did a quick interview with Matt Wells at Media Guardian then dashed back to London and off to Fleet Street (yes, really) to do a BBC interview for the Money Programme about the crisis facing the media. Meant I had to miss the fantastic rally against job cuts at the FT with Tony Benn (yes, really) addressing almost 170 FT journalists and supporters.

Back to office to meet with various NEC members in advance of today's meeting, talking about finances, Saturday's Jobs Summit, the OFCOM report, journalists in Gaza and much more. Home at 11.30pm.

Yesterday I was at a meeting of all our BBC M/FoCs and then a joint meeting with BECTU reps at the BBC to talk about this year's pay claim and other industrial issues. Later in the day I was at the parliamentary launch of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group with MPs and other trade union general secretaries. It was supposed to be hosted by John McDonnell, but after his mace waving in the Commons he's banned. Still he'll be allowed in to our National Executive today where he's giving his report from our Parliamentary Group. And he'll be welcome - we like people of principle!

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