Apparently, I’m not alone in finding the offerings of the local press less than interesting. Johnston Press has made major losses and they claim that the local pruning measures are a necessity as a result of their present financial situation. Are we sacrificing Isle of Man staff to support the company as a whole? Is the Isle of Man branch in an equally poor position?

Does it matter? The fact is that readers don’t seem to be happy with what’s on offer. Why don’t JP heed the advice? Real news – cut the colour supplement stuff. Does the local press excel on any level? No problem. There are alternative news sources. 🙂




4 comments on “LET’S HAVE REAL NEWS

  1. It is certainly true that our Manx based media has left a lot to be desired throughout the recent decades. Indeed, when looking at the last 10 years and the onset of the internet, it could be argued that our media has been somewhat lacking in what it could have offered our Island Community.

    Outdated modes of media, namely radio and newspapers, and a lack of real news has left a glaring gap in the market within Manx journalism. Therefore, in regards to newspapers, perhaps we should not be too surprised that we have witnessed incurred losses from Johnston Press and a restructuring of their organization.

    After all, when was the last time you saw anyone under the age of 35 years with a newspaper. My bet is that you have more than likely witnessed someone under the age of 35 on the web catching up on the news headlines and analysis on the BBC website.

    However, as my article “Media Matters – The Onset of Manx TV” (which can be found on the the Positive Action Group website) outlines, the Isle of Man could very well be entering an exciting time as far as our media is concerned.

    The onset of Manx Telecom TV (MTTV), while a small acorn, is growing into something quite substantial. And rumours are circulating that it could very well be joined by other internet channels offering Manx based news sometime soon.

    The real change that MTTV has brought about has been the very visible presence of our politicians. It is certainly refreshing to place a face to the name of our MHKs, and to actually see how our politicians conduct themselves when being asked to account for their actions during interviews. In short, the immediacy of how the news is presented on MTTV is unrivaled by any other mainstream title that delivers Manx news coverage.

    Today’s MHKs, not used to the power of television, will have to learn to cope with this new development within our media. And as if to prove my point, Clip 2 of the Manx Grand Prix Protest on MTTV shows John Shimmin unable to hide his anger as he is confronted by protesters and asked questions by the reporter. His reaction perhaps highlights someone who throughout his political career, has not had to deal with the immediacy and scrutiny of a camera lens.

    Howard Quayle on the other hand, chatting with protesters, listening to their concerns, showing a genuine interest, came over as a politician who may have understood what the onset of a Manx TV/internet channel may actually mean in how politics and our politicians are portrayed.

    In short, I believe we may be witnessing the onset of a whole new media age, driving standards to a higher plain of journalism than what our Island Community has been used to. Television will change the very nature in how our news is covered, and other Internet/TV channels will emerge to drive the production standards of existing channels even higher.

    • Thank you for your comment jm. It is true that our media very frequenly lack true investigative reporting of political issues. Selective reporting can also obscure the real issues.

      It is also true that under 35s seldom read local newspapers and probably obtain much information from the BBC website. Is there much difference between the two? Neither are truly local sources.

      I have to admit that I have had problems with viewing MMTV to the extent that I have given up trying. It takes ages to load. Perhaps there is a fix for this? I’m sure some politicians are finding visual media challenging. Taking them out of their comfort zone has to be a step forward. Further channels could also help in getting a message across.

      However, while community issues are of immediate interest and importance up to now I have not seen anything that questions the problem that lies at the heart of government (IMO). As our legislation is “copied and pasted” (Quote from Chris Robertshaw MHK) from UK legislation and as we are aware that around eighty-five per cent of UK legislation emanates from the EU we appear to be getting into the habit of adopting alien and irrelevant Acts of Parliament for no apparent reason. Added to this is the fact that MHKs, along with politicians elsewhere, are dependent on advisors for assistance with dealing with proposed new legislation. However, we know almost nothing about the advisors.

      Presently, yet another example of this issue has come to light. The proposed increased police powers for an island with a low crime rate/high detection rate are surely unnecessary and have almost certainly not originated from our Department of Home Affairs. We are told that these measures are necessary so that we can deal with global crime.

      Tynwald appears to be little more than a parish council. When are we going to stand up and ask how this situation evolved and whether we are obliged to adopt EU/UK legislation? Until this issue has been addressed we will continue to be distracted by local issues while our personal freedom is constantly eroded. For our safety of course! Life is fatal. Freedom is a basic right.

  2. Thank you for your reply, and please call me Jason. I’m sorry to hear that you have not found MTTV easy to watch. I personally have found the load up quite fast, with the advert at the beginning relatively quick. It seems a shame that you are unable to view this new medium as I honestly believe that we are witnessing something quite new beginning to emerge within our Island media.

    However, as internet channels become more accessible through our TV and digital boxes, the use of computers should become redundant when viewing such channels. With BBC iPlayer and You Tube already accessible through certain types of TV and digital boxes, being able to view Manx based Internet channels through our television sets may not be as far away as one might think.

    I certainly share your view that the pressing political issue of our day, though not often referred to in our media, is the “copy paste culture” of legislation from the UK/EU. And as you say, there appears to be no reason for this.

    However, I would suggest that it must be sheer laziness on the part of the advisors and civil servants, and of course the government itself. After all, to be employed as a civil servant or advisor on our Island cannot be too hard when you simply cut and paste legislation from your largest neighbor next door. And as you quite rightly observe, in a low crime jurisdiction, some of the measures suggested in the Criminal Justice Bill appear to be using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Ultimately of course, the politicians are at fault since they seem to go for it every time. Indeed, when it comes to the Criminal Justice Bill, Adrian Earnshaw attempted to pass something like this as a minister on behalf of the Tony Brown administration a year before the election.

    However, it is my contention that this is a cultural problem within government, and can only be solved through factors that will change the culture of politics on the Island. The first is the need for an popularly elected Chief Minister, the second would be the need for a Freedom of Information Act, and the third is the need for more competition from our media outlets.

    Through an election of a Chief Minister, the media would find it far easier to interview one person who is head of the government and stands on a platform of policies, rather than attempting to hold 24 individuals to account who have stood on a scattering of policies. Overnight, an elected Chief Minister would bring the Island into what I refer to as grown up politics in our Island Community.

    Through a Freedom of Information Bill, our media would be given a real shot in the arm since they would be able request information that they could then report on.

    This would then lead to real competition within our Island media because through a TV channel, you must find stories to fill the time. Furthermore, if other channels exist, then your news will need to be presented differently and more excitingly than the other channel in order to gain ratings.

    Therefore, competition within our media would create the need for greater scrutiny, bringing with it a mature media that would be confident through its new new access to government through a Freedom of Information Bill. The fact that a Chief Minister would be popularly elected would mean that the election would become very important within the electoral cycles on the Island, with our new confident media covering the policies of the candidates, thereby throwing more light onto government legislation and the thinking behind them.

    • Interesting points, Jason. In brief:

      MMTV stills takes impossibly long to load – I tried it again yesterday. Until this media becomes as fast and accessible as Youtube etc It is unfortunately not reaching all potential viewers.

      Laziness could play a part in copy and pasting but the fact is that there appears to be a very close and yet opaque connection between the UK
      Justice Department and the Chief Secretary’s office (already covered on the blog) which seemingly assists in the introduction of UK legislation. Unminuted meetings between these parties have been confirmed by a UK MP.

      The UK is adopting legislation from the EU in a very similar fashion and it seems that the puppet politicians and their activities are of little interest to a public which has recognised that the result of elections is apparently ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’

      The above issue of the introduction of UK/EU measures is surely of paramount importance. I also used to believe that the copy and paste mentality was laziness but I no longer believe this to be the case. While our elected representatives continue to hold unminuted meetings with third parties democracy remains a pipe dream. Has the media investigated this issue?

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