A battle – rekindle journalism

I was interested to read this piece (see link below) in The Post, Liverpool’s new(ish) online newspaper, which I’ve found very interesting:-

www.livpost.co.uk/p/bored-of-publishing-clickbait-the?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxOTMwNDk2OSwicG9zdF9pZCI6NDk2NzAwODEsIl8iOiJiQjllOSIsImlhdCI6MTY0NzI1MTQxNiwiZXhwIjoxNjQ3MjU1MDE2LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTA3MDE4Iiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.nkHp8j3eYvMYEcob_DeiJcpPrKFG054XbqKWUCfSfCU&s=r

My response to Reach and the Liverpool Echo.

I do still visit your Liverpool Echo website from time to time but to be honest, your concentration on crime is really depressing. I want to read interesting, well-researched articles about the Liverpool City Region and some good investigative journalism digging into the dark corners of councils, companies and organisations who would rather such reporting was not happening.

I appreciate that your business model has been turned upside down because of online news and let’s face it who under the age of 65 buys a newspaper these days. A friend of mine who died quite recently was a journalist for local newspapers and he knew the community where I live very well. He immersed himself in the community getting to know all kinds of people and those who represented them. Yes, he was an old fashioned reporter but when he passed away our communities in the East Parishes of Sefton Borough lost a great deal.

I think it fair to say that news reporting (like policing) is done remotely these days and, like the police, reporters are not on the ground where things are happening and they’re not picking up important intelligence/stories. Indeed, this leads to superficial reporting without the depth to it that we all used to enjoy.

Frankly, I have seen the emergence of The Post as a very positive thing that may to some extent help us turn back the clocks with regard to reporting on local/sub-regional matters, if only to some extent.

Please don’t be opposed to what The Post is doing but find ways to work with it. If the reaction of Reach is as described above it sadly reminds me of how the Labour Party reacts to other progressive parties i.e. wanting to crush them. Progressive and open journalism should be a positive thing that makes those with power at any level and in any organisation keep an eye over their shoulder for fear of their not being seen to be doing things for the benefit of our communities and indeed wider society.

Shakespeare and Prescot

I’ve always had a soft spot for Prescot, the stamping ground of the near-legendary (to me anyway) Cllr. Ian Smith whom I’ve heard referred to as ‘Mr Prescot’ and we’re not talking ‘2 Jags’ here!

The steeple of Prescot Parish Church just as the sun was going down.

I’m also a fan of ‘The Post’ a new online newspaper for Merseyside which has just published an in-depth article about Prescot’s soon to be Shakespeare Theatre. The link below is to The Post article, by Robin Brown, which is well worth a read:-

www.livpost.co.uk/p/whats-past-is-prologue-how-shakespeare

I decided to ask ‘Mr Prescot’ for his views on the project and this is what he says:-

‘We are very supportive of the Shakespeare theatre being built in Prescot. The unique history of the Town demands this investment in its future. The original Elizabethan theatre was sited at the other end of Eccleston Street near a building known a the ‘Flat iron’ for obvious reasons.

We are all looking forward to the opening in 2022. The theatre will attract visitors to Prescot from all over the world. The renovation work to shops in the Town have been in keeping and Eccleston Street offers a café and restaurant atmosphere and is welcoming to visitors both day and night.

Prescot can look to a great future by building on its past, it has important stories to tell and will become an important visitor attraction in the North West.’

Councillor Ian Smith – Prescot North Knowsley MBC & Prescot Town Council

And here’s an interesting link about the project from the Liverpool Echo:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shakespeares-links-merseyside-new-playhouse-22585829#ICID=Android_EchoNewsApp_AppShare

Bootle – As seen by an article in the Liverpool Post

Bootle New Strand shopping centre

I found the article (linked below) by Joshi Herrmann in the Post very interesting.

www.livpost.co.uk/p/bootle-retains-optimistic-air?r=bhrt5&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=

I spent my whole working life in what used to be called Bootle’s ‘Mini-Whitehall’ i.e. the collection of 1960s office blocks full of civil servants. Those jobs were brought to Bootle throughout the 1970s and into the 80s as part of what some called ‘Exit London’. The idea was to bring decent jobs into a deprived area whilst saving government the high costs of buildings and employing people in the southeast. It always struck me as a good policy but now my former employer HMRC is upping sticks and moving into central Liverpool and abandoning Bootle. I have long struggled with the new policy direction as to me it seems to simply overturn a good idea with a poor one and Bootle has clearly lost out, not least with the spending power of civil servants in the likes of The Strand.

Bootle Town Hall

My other issue is the lack of political competition in Bootle as everyone knows that a Labour MP will be returned together with a collection of Labour councillors. To my mind, this breeds electoral stagnation and I think places like Bootle would benefit from a proportional electoral system (wouldn’t we all) maybe even more so than other communities. New ideas outside of a Labour Party which has always seemed to me to be rooted in political battles of the past may emerge, you never know.

I’d like to see Bootle do well, I really would but I also fear it’s a community where the far-right may try to exploit the poverty.