Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shooting the Messenger

I suppose I wasn't entirely surprised to read in Saturday's Echo that Darlington's Tories would scrap the Town Crier should they ever wield power in the Council Chamber again. My fellow blogger and Echo editor Pete Barron has lauded their stand today.

I'm afraid it's a classic bit of opposition short-termism. The LibDems in North Yorkshire (where the council controlled by the Tories has a council magazine)are saying something similar.

Still, no doubt Heather thinks this will curry a bit of favour with the Echo and its campaign to tell the people of Darlington what we're allowed to read. Two notes of caution, however.

Firstly, the Tories in Darlington (or indeed the opposition anywhere where newspaper bosses are looking to close down council-run publications) shouldn't kid themselves that should they bend a knee to the campaign, matters will stop there. The quote from the local newspaper bosses was telling - they object to any competition from local authorities on the grounds that it strips them of potential advertising revenue and readers. Expect the next assault to be against council websites.

I'd be very sorry to see the Town Crier go. But as that would happen under the aegis of a Tory-run council, I'd have decidely mixed feelings. Seeing the Tories bin a well-respected, award-winning magazine which communicates effectively with Darlington residents and goes through every door - frankly it would be their administration which would suffer as a result.

If they felt they could best communicate an important change to local council services - like those recently to waste collection in the Borough, for example - via a story on page 45 of the Northern Echo read by a fraction of residents, where their comment was jostling for space with an attack from an environmental group - good luck to them.

If I were still on the council, I'd shake my head - and make the most of the opportunity.


Anonymous said...

More pathetic moaning from an editor who's been there too long and whose paper reflects that fact.

Stop producing an abysmal product, stop paying peanuts to kids straight out of college, and properly consider how you'll deal with the new media revolution that is actually killing off newspapers (rather than a solitary monthly council magazine, for goodness sake).

Still, at least Mr Barron has had the guts to finally say it's the Town Crier in particular he has a problem with, even though some photography in the Crier is listed as coming from the Northern Echo. Presumably that's paid for? Or does the Echo reject the evil council's dosh on a matter of principle?

ex-labour said...

Nick you say "I wasn't entirely surprised to read in Saturday's Echo that Darlington's Tories would scrap the Town Crier should they ever wield power in the Council Chamber again."



Anonymous said...

Alas poor Crier we disliked you a lot.

james said...

I'd be worried about losing the Town Crier because it contains lots of information about events and council services - contact details, etc.

I can't work out how it's a threat to the Echo - TC doesn't do regional, national or international news, does it?

Anonymous said...


Darlington have been trying to shoot the messenger for years in its disgraceful treatment of Chris Close and his team of Advocates.

Without them many of us in Darlington would have no benefits and some no jobs so why does DBC use its corporate power to try to destroy him and his colleagues who do nothing but good?

Chris is having to do work in other parts of the country to support services for vulnerable people in Darlington who would otherwise have nothing.

This is the real messenger Darlington are trying to shoot and it should stop.

Anonymous said...

I agree Anonymous.

DBC do not allow contra views. Anyone who expresses such an view are rubbished and the DBC dogs are set on them.

I offer two examples to you Councillor.

Someone who spoke out against a policy of DBC at a meeting was deliberately jostled at the adjurnment by an officer.

Another person who dared to speak out publicly against a DBC action suffered the most dreadful humiliation in front of others and was so severely shaken and upset that it took that person months to get over it.

So Councillor it is no wonder that people dislike the Town Crier and DBC.

Ian W said...

I can only speak from personal experience but Chris Close stepped in and helped us when we had a school issue, something DBC should have stepped into and resolved instead of covering up and allowing the perpetraitor to continue on in the same job.

Peter Barron said...

In response to the last comment, from "Anonymous" (funny how people who like to attack you don't have the courage to give their names), The Northern Echo hasn't been paid for the photographs which appear in Town Crier. The council has had them free. Peter Barron.

james said...

I was aware of this fact myself, Peter - but perhaps other people are not.

A way forward might be to have a full page advertisement for the Northern Echo in the magazine, in recognition for contribution the paper makes to our town and to the Town Crier through its provision of photographs?

Anonymous said...

What contribution does it make to the town exactly?

It's a struggling business like hundreds of others - do they all get free ads?

Thomas Byrne said...

Hi Nick, I wrote about this here which might be of interest.

james said...

Anonymous: I wasn't suggesting a free ad, I was suggesting an exchange. Northern Echo journalists report what's going on in the town on a day-to-day basis, which is a very big contribution.

I only wish that the Echo was owned by it's staff and readers for the benefit of the town rather than being the property of a big corporation.

Anonymous said...

Crikey, they're only doing the jobs they're paid to do.

By the same token, Greggs staff make a very big contribution to the town by handing over sausage rolls to customers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick

DBC denied my right to have Chris Close as my advocate despite this being my choice.

How does that stack up legally?

Close fan said...

Boy does he frighten them, first they tried to get rid of him by eviction and that fails as he simply moves, now they are denying peoples rights to use him!

I think not, you can use anyone you want or thats discrimination and against your human rights.

Good old Chris, the question should be why don't they like him being on the other team.

Simple, he runs rings round them and their secret and closed boy's club, he knows all about their tricks and schemes and where all "the bodies are burried" and he's not affriad to stand up to them, something DBC in it's own eyes sees as not allowed.

He frightens them, so in their eyes he must be silenced.

I would advise anyone with a grudge or problem with DBC to contact Chris!

01325 383811 let's see how long it is before Nick is told by Johno to remove this post.

Anonymous said...

Quote from Guido you might be interested in Councillor.

Alex Smith, editor of LabourList, writes

“Every time I pick up a newspaper, my heart sighs at the thought of what I am about to read – because I don’t always trust the government to tell the truth on my behalf either.

It’s a sorry, humiliating, state of affairs and it’s getting sorrier and more humiliating every day.”

Chris Close said...

Thanks for the endorsement fellers/ladies and we are indeed still up and running on the telephone number and people can access us via the web site.

I am now convinced this is more of an Officer than a Councillor problem because I think some of them are beginning(the latter I mean) to realise they are lied to by highly paid public officials.

I do a very good counselling out of job service if you want to get rid of some or all of them and I understand one senior female Officer is on her way out.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from Chris. Thank God for people like you Chris. Don't forget, there is an election coming up soon........ Get in there and cause Jonno some serious concerns!!

Nick and labour DBC - go now, goodbye!!

Pan said...

Is it me or is Chris Close talking to himself... again? How sad! Chris stop posting as anonymous and then replying to yourself.

Make an appointment and come and see me for your repeat prescription.

PANsy said...

Oh no Pan returns, slags anonymous posters and then post anonymously.

Some of us know who you are!

Chris Close said...

Pan as DBC knows fine well I dont do anonymous and as for your smarmy creepy little anonymous post, who cares what you think?

V said...

Chris stand for Bank Top topple Johno from his "safe" perch!