Twittering the Shadow Culture Minister

posted by Steve Bowbrick

Here’s a quick note to log the speech on public service broadcasting made by shadow culture minister Jeremy Hunt that I attended yesterday morning at the LSE.

I twittered throughout. I like twittering live events but mostly like to provide a comic commentary (“get a load of that syrup” kind of thing) because Twiitter obviously doesn’t allow for much depth of commentary—especially not when you’re tapping away on a mobile phone.

So I’m not 100% convinced of the value of live twittering in news or information terms—although it’s probably true to say that I ‘broke’ Hunt’s endorsement of the licence fee and of Ofcom’s view of Channels 4’s role in PSB before any other media outlet, all of whom waited until the end of the speech to file.

The main feature of Hunt’s speech was its utter blandness. Hunt is hardly a firebrand—in fact he seems to be rather uncomfortable pronouncing in the obligatory censorious tones on Brand/Ross—but I was quietly hoping for something a bit tougher than “The licence fee is here to stay because it works”.

Hunt essentially endorsed the PSB status quo: the licence fee is safe (although in the past Hunt has supported top slicing), C4’s plight was acknowledged and privatisation was ruled out, Ofcom’s view of the PSB landscape was supported. The only distinctive element was an endorsement of local and super-local media with a suggestion that the BBC might be required to support it.

I asked Hunt if he’d force the BBC to share assets with other broadcasters and media firms if his party were elected and he made a nod to Mark Thompson’s commitment to ‘partnerships’ but said it was time to do something concrete: to ‘talk turkey’ in fact.

Here are my tweets from the event.

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