Victoria View – True or False?

By on 18/01/2010 in Blog

Queen-Victoria-250pxThe  latest from our new series of blogs covering life inside the Birmingham City Council press office…

The opening Victoria View, politely asking reporters to keep up their responsible coverage of the “big freeze”, seemingly fell on deaf ears in some quarters.

This is probably due to the fact that the longer the snow stayed on the ground, the more the pressure on journalists to produce fresh copy and different angles increased.

When creative and unexpected angles are needed, the gap between truth and perception seems to grow rapidly.

It actually gives me the itch to do some myth-busting with recent media stories:

False: Our city's streets were about to grind to a halt last week because we were running out of grit.
True: The Government's Salt Cell system, introduced to fairly ration grit supplies nationally, delivered stocks to Birmingham as planned, meaning things ran as smoothly as could have been expected in the worst winter for a generation. We told the media this but the points were disregarded in favour of the eye-catching headlines.
Analysis: If I don't go to the supermarket tomorrow, I will run out of milk too you know…

False: Chelmsley Wood is a suburb of Birmingham according to a national newspaper.
True: Chelmsley Wood is a suburb of Solihull - this may seem like nitpicking, but when placed in the context of an article on a rise in hate crimes, it is pretty clear why Birmingham would be a little concerned at the image this is portraying nationally.
Analysis: What next? Lisbon is a suburb of Madrid?

False: Birmingham's failed bid for the 1992 Olympics means that our efforts to win any future titles or prestigious projects could well be doomed according to weekly political TV programme for the West Midlands.
True: Birmingham's bid for the 1992 Olympics were first drawn up in the mid-1980s and our current efforts to attract the likes of the UK City of Culture title will be judged on what we have to offer now.
Analysis: I have heard that the Treaty of Versailles will have an impact on our plans to develop a Digital District in the Eastside area of the city…

The bottom line is that the relationship between the media and a press office is a two-way thing. We are here to help with enquiries in a timely, polite manner. But this requires our response or perspective to be accurately portrayed - or at the very least for a bit of common sense or accuracy to be applied to the reporting.

It's not too much to ask is it?

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jon Bounds says:

    What’s a “Victoria View”?

    • geoffc says:

      Oops, sorry Jon.

      There should have been an opening par explaining this was the latest blog from the BCC press office.

      The post has now been updated.