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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The depoliticianing of Haringey People magazine has been called for by a serving, Majority Group Councillor.

But would such a move go far enough? Is the politicisation of the council's regular publication confined to endless vanity photos and quotes from the Cabinet Member Executives? What else goes into this glossy 32-page publication?

IMO, the amount of genuine information, deserving of inclusion, could be written on a few postcards.

The council apparently sees a part of its remit as a news media organisation. But much of the material could (and should) have been left to the independent press to cover.  But the "stories" from the council quarter sometimes lack objectivity and journalistic integrity - not to mention lacking interest. Unfair and subsidised competition with the local press, may have been a small factor in the recent closure of local papers. Haringey People magazine is a questionable publication on two counts:

[1] it is forced into every household in the Borough and represents an unjustified use (waste) of paper, printing ink and delivery cost.

[2] even if HP went wholly online (unlikely, but meeting the above objection), it would likely continue as a politicised organ, paid for from taxation. In the words of the Home Secretary, referring not only to HP mag, propaganda on the rates.

Depoliticianing would be a step in the right direction IMO, but only a step.

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I agree that Haringey People is an expensive piece of junk mail, but given that your love/hate relationship with Alan Stanton is pursued in public on this forum, it would have been generous of you to have identified him as the " serving councillor " who made this welcome move.

John, there is no attempt to conceal the identity of the councillor who made the comment.

I'm not sure if you noticed that I generously provided a link to Cllr Alan Stanton's entire original suggestion (click on the hypertext link under the words "called for", above. I bolded the words in an effort to make it less likely to be missed)

But does it much matter where the suggestion comes from, beyond a serving councillor of the Majority Group?

It'd be great if you could comment on the substantive point I make: would the depoliticianing of HP, be enough?

I didn't say you attempted to conceal his identity: I meant that you could have identified him in clear.

Comment - NO

John, you tease. "Comment - NO" could mean, no comment or it could mean, that no, depoliticianing of HP would not be enough!

I've often wondered about the possibility of a poll on the Haringey website about this - don't they have a poll-creating widget? would they allow it?

HP doesnt often arrive at my door. I do look through it when I see it. I would like to see it become two-way - the addition of a letters page, or a readers' forum, would be a start. It deffo needs a re-think and could be less glossy, less 'designed'.

As a 30-years-and-counting NUJ member I stand with my colleagues in the LBH Press Office in saying their work has value.  The council does need to put out loads of information, HP could be a way of pulling it together - but as a quarterly its value is inevitably reduced to being a brochure. It's too party-led as it stands, there is no space for contradiction. Can we hope for a version of HP which reflects 250000 ideas rather than just those of the Dear Leader and her cohort clustered with their fingers in ther ears going la-la-la to other opinions? 

For photos of politicians pointing at things, I prefer to stick to Glum Councillors, except they have stopped posting my suggestions as they say Haringey is over-represented.

I would like to see it become two-way - the addition of a letters page, or a readers' forum, would be a start.

Pam, I'm not sure "two way" would be a move in the right direction.

We know that some newspapers and/or their proprietors are aligned with one or other political party. Currently, we know that HP's contents reflect majority group interests or more accurately, are approved by the Cabinet Executive.

Who would  select  letters or feedback to be published in HP magazine?

The addition of a letters page could be insidious, because it could easily be manipulated into an untrue reflection of public opinion. For example, the editor, under party-political direction, could select the most effusive letters in support of council policies and perhaps include a token, mildly critical, letter to give the impression of balance. It'd be more open to abuse than the current level of misuse.

The current clear party-political bias might be preferable to the sham appearance of a two-way forum.

Yes this would be an issue. One possibility, use the net (for the wired half of the borough) to publish all letters/responses submitted, in the first place. (It would need moderating to remove death threats etc.) Then it would show up editorial bias in the hard copy/pdf.

LBH website is only one-way. They could run a forum that could rival HoL. Do any councils do this?

Editor,                                                                                                                                                                       Haringey People

Dear Sir or Madam,

As a devoted reader of your esteemed publication within months of his previously allotted three-score-and-ten span, please allow me space for a word in defence of two of our much maligned public representatives. For Councillor Wreath's promise, "they will not die", I am eternally grateful. It is not every year we are given such a guaranteed commitment of eternal life. I am now much more relaxed and laid back: much of what I thought needed my urgent attention can now simmer away nicely on the back burner.

Once again I notice some unwarranted attacks on your esteemed paper. Please try to ignore these. Your reduction from your earlier ten copies per annum has had a deleterious effect on my well-being. A month without Haringey People makes life hard to bear, in spite of Cllr Wreath's messianic promise. Please restore your full publication practice as before. As I may have mentioned, all that HP needs to set it among the greats is a decent centrefold section for our delectation. HP Sauce may be a rather obvious title choice. I have no doubt that our gracious Leader as your Kober Girl and Centrefold would add monthly spice to the possibly interminable life Cllr Wreath has lined up for us.                       

A faithful and grateful HP reader.

Ha!  Made me smile OAE!

@Clive, I don't think the publication of HP is entirely responsible for the demise of the local media in Haringey. It's been heading that way for years. At a time when that every aspect of what the council needs serious scrutiny, I believe we should be asking the current publishers of our local press why they cover the borough so badly. Because of the Journal's closure, I'm now forced to pick up both freesheets the Independent, whose coverage is sporadic, and the Advertiser, whose coverage is non-existent.

The majority of Haringey now have no newspaper to call their own. Surely we could ask the like the publishers of the Camden New Journal to consider setting up a local rag in the borough? They, with it's sister paper islington Tribune do a far greater job of covering their boroughs' affairs than Archant.

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