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
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 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
A bottle opener at the Highcliff denied the rumour, saying there had
never been credit facilities behind the bar.