Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Budget setting

Thanks to so many people for their kind words about the tweetathon on the #bcc hashtag yesterday afternoon. The enthusiastic amateurs outnumbered and outlasted most of the professional media. If the chance arises, I'll write it up in a bit more detail.


charlie said...

You certainly did. Coverage by the Post was pathetic with the live feed on their site being only occasionally updated before crashing. Thanks for all the tweets.

Birmingham Budget Cuts said...

I, for one, would be very interested in hearing your take on the #bcc tweetathon.

I’m back in Canada now after spending six wonderful months in Brum, getting a first rate education in online journalism under Paul Bradshaw in the Birmingham City University MA Online Journalism program.

As the co-publisher of the website Birmingham Budget Cuts, I attended every city council meeting while I was there. At a time when B’ham was in such crisis, I couldn’t understand why the public galleries were virtually empty and most of the mainstream media didn’t bother to cover Council.

When I asked the question, I was told repeatedly that people have given up and just don’t care. But what came first -- the chicken or the egg? Does the msm not cover Council because they think people don’t care...or do people not care because they don’t get enough information from msm?

I thought the #bcc tweetathon was a breath of fresh air. As someone who cares about the future of Birmingham, it was great to watch from across the pond as you and half a dozen other bloggers all got on the same hashtag and even politicians @peparkin and @salmayaqoob joined in.

The co-publisher of Birmingham Budget Cuts is Andy Watt and he was the guy sitting up front at the press table. I realize we’re not the first, because the Stirrer did it before us.
At the same time that we requested that Andy sit at the press table, however, we were pushing for the right to shoot video and take stills. That obviously didn’t happen and I don’t disrespect Council for asking for more time to set up protocols.

What I think is important, however, is that going forward, bloggers (like you, and Brum Budget Cuts) need to continue to cover Council. Information is power. Democracy depends on it. If the mainstream media isn’t doing the job, do it yourself.

At next month’s Council meeting, I hope they have a video strategy in place. If they don’t, however, I hope either you or Andy will stand up a shoot from a mobile camera because that would clearly be within the the parameters of the directive from central government. If you get arrested, I will personally send the money for bail.

Congratulations on a fine tweetathon and I look forward to what happens next.