LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE NEWS ROUNDUP

Regional press takes bigger role

Regional press takes bigger role



Clients should seek regional rather than national press coverage in the

run-up to increasing devolution, Bell Pottinger Good Relations director

David Hill said this week.



Speaking at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting entitled Spinning

to a Devolved Britain, he said: ’I tell my clients they are captured by

a sense that a national paper carries a story, but if you want to put

across reasonably good news, most local papers feel an obligation to

present it. National newspapers won’t cover it because they can’t get a

row out of it’. He added that devolution to the regions would mean

national media would have to redefine its role.



BT prefers a suite to a stand



BT shunned a stand at this week’s Labour Party conference for the first

time in its history, preferring to host a series of events in a hotel

suite.



BT senior public affairs adviser Chris Philipsborn said: ’Conference

stands are a tired format. You get a lot of visits but there is little

opportunity to get your message across’.



BT’s hotel room events included a fringe meeting co-hosted by charity

Age Concern, a question time session for local children, the launch of a

rural best practice guide by environment minister Michael Meacher and a

meeting on e-commerce attended by Treasury minister Patricia Hewitt.



Rowland public affairs have been advising the company on its presence at

the conference.



PoliticsDirect.com launched



The Communication Group former public affairs directors John Arnold and

David Beamer launched their new consultancy, PoliticsDirect.com, in time

for the conference, last Friday.



The agency will offer internet-based consultancy services, including

free monitoring and a political news service as well as face-to-face

strategic public affairs advice. It also plans to offer e-commerce

opportunities such as purchasing policy documents on the web.



Beamer said: ’The web site will offer a basic toolkit for people in

public affairs’. It launches at the end of October and the agency is on

the point of signing up several clients.



Whelan speaks out on spinning



Addressing a fringe meeting on the role of the media this week, Gordon

Brown’s former press secretary Charlie Whelan expressed concern at the

level of media interest in spin doctors.



Referring to a documentary about him broadcast on Channel 4 last weekend

and the pending biography of Alastair Campbell by Sunday Express

political columnist Peter Oborne, he said the hype surrounding himself

and Campbell was ’terrifying’.



Cash-only bar stymies lobbyists



Lobbyists at the conference were faced with the challenge of paying for

clients’ drinks with cash only. The bar at the Highcliff Hotel - the

main conference venue - does not have a credit card machine.



Some industry sources were convinced the Highcliff bar did cater for

credit cards at last year’s Conservative Party conference. The rumour

was that compared to the Platinum American Express-flashing Tories, the

sums of money spent at the bar by Labour’s champagne socialists were not

deemed sufficient to warrant the credit card machine being wheeled

out.



A bottle opener at the Highcliff denied the rumour, saying there had

never been credit facilities behind the bar.



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