Today the Edmonton Journal's Capital Notebook held a live chat to talk about the cabinet shuffle. In my opinion there was a very good response when I look at the amount of questions and comments that were posted after moderation.
I have come to rely on social media more than the MSM for my daily intake of newsworthy events. Maybe I shouldn't say more than MSM rather delivery of it, as I still read the media publications. This brings me to the question of how effective is the social media? My blog is definitely an opinion based, biased blog that I hope raises the debate level up another notch, in a way the MSM shouldn't. Do blogs such as this one, Daveberta, Enlightened Savage, Calgary Rants, Chris Labossiere, or Ken Chapman to name a few really have any influence over the people that read them? Does Twitter, Facebook, etc.. have influential power on some of the topics they cover? Recently RenewAB was launched to form a party for the disenfranchised Progressives to call home, and a quick twitter with Naheed Nenshi we discussed the fact that there were 500 supporters online. This is pretty good for a movement that just started over a month ago, but the question is are these people that will move away from the comforts of their computer, go get the needed signatures, raise funds and develop policies? Some I am sure are although I believe it will be a small amount of them.
So as I question the social media and the influence it has, this question was raised on the live chat regarding the MSM and the ability to report unbiased information and answered quite fairly by Mr. McLean:
Q-"Since communication seems to be Premier's downfall in his opinion, do you as MSM believe that the media has been biased in it's reporting (joining the public outcry) or do you think the hundreds of communications staff in the Leg. are not doing their job proper? I know its a loaded question but really want MSM perspective. "
A- "I can't speak for the entire MSM, but we try to reflect both the public mood and the government's perspective in our reporting. We fail sometimes, but that's the idea.Two quick points though:- The premier has got a much rougher ride in Calgary than Edmonton. That reflects a geographical bias, but also the public mood in Calgary, whihc is more distrustful and angry at the premier- Some ministries do a much better job with communications than others. I don't mean to pile on Janis Tarchuk, but she's an example of a minister who clearly hated dealing with the media. Fine, we're difficult sometimes, but we have stories to write and need comment from the person in charge."
I don't know if the media is really being difficult, rather the poor communication by people trying to beat around the bush with their answers. If no straight answer is given, the member leaves themselves open to an interpretation, which could go either way. When we get into MSM, some of my favorite opinions such as Don Braid, Rob Breakenridge, Dave Breakenridge, and Paula Simons, I ask are they any different than the blogger's, outside of they are toned down a touch? I don't know, but it doesn't seem so. I can't see that they have better research as some of the blogger's have some fairly amazing stuff.
Our Alberta Government has in the last year been quick to blame the media for all their woes. Now as reasonable as that may sound, it is far from the truth. As mentioned by Archie McLean they can only report what they are told. If ministers refuse to speak openly to reporters, how can they fairly cover a story that isn't a little speculation based? At the PC AGM the premier stated the fact they needed to communicate better to get their message across and started to use social media as a tool. Twitter, Facebook, blogs and you tube (#asked) were attempted, but miserably failed as most weren't really the premier, or his answers to questions were vetted or scripted, but credit for trying. The Wildrose also has not grasped social media, except for Danielle Smith who does actually run her own twitter account, which should be IMAO a tool they need to develop. If there is one party that has done well utilizing social media it is the Alberta Liberals. They have done you tube, twitter, websites, and blogs by the leader and most of it's members. Good for them for trying to break into the new era.
So comes the question with so many Internet users, in Alberta politics how effective is social media and the blogs?
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