Thanet Star

Jon Snow's speech shows why Thanet needs bloggers

Jon Snow has said that the media elite has lost touch. They dropped the ball, but we can pick it up.

Of all of the words spoken, written, or broadcast this week, a fifty-minute oration stands out. A speech made by Jon Snow. Not the Game of Throne character but the anchor of ITNís Channel 4 News.

Jon Snow was in Edinburgh giving the 2017 MacTaggart Lecture at an annual Television Festival.

Snow spoke truth to power. He asked serious questions of journalism. He highlighted the need to connect the elite with the truth of the wider community, the forgotten, the marginalised, the "bottom end of society".

There is a massive disconnect between the wealthy and the less-well off. This disconnect gives voice to the wealthy and hides the poor from view. Local newspaper services have all but died and taken that voice with them.

Sure, The Isle of Thanet News has popped up. It is run by the ex-editor of our one remaining "local paper". Something anyone of us could have done, if only we knew how.

It's not the technology - we all have access to that.

Even here there is a disconnect where those with the connections, the training, the skills, they are in too high demand elsewhere.

The way I see it, we have few options.

  • Remain voiceless and just suffer the consiquences
  • Hope that the media elite decide that Thanet worth talking about again
  • Wait for someone to freely offer up the knowledge of how to run a true local news hub
  • Create one anyway by simple virtue of critical mass - enough people, enough blogs, working at once.
  • Allow rumour and disnformation to run rampant...

Surely the only answer from our side of the fence is to create a critical mass of blogs. Sure, any given blog will probably be a bit poor, or published irregularly, or only occasionally interesting.

Together though, we might get the attention of the national papers.

We've done it before.

There is a whole list of free places we could be blogging from. There a few blogs still talking about Thanet. Not as many as there once was, but some.

Jon Snow may well be right that the media elite has lost touch with us. He might be right that they need to try harder. But waiting for a hand out is not our only option.

Clips from Jon Snow's speech, understandably, did the rounds on social media but the whole thing is worth 50 minutes of your time.

Jon Snow said:

Like my fellow journalists, I have spent many hours around Grenfell. I have come to know a number of the survivors, and I speak to them regularly by phone or e-mail.

So casually written off as nameless migrants, scroungers, illegals, and the rest. Actually, and it should be no shock to us, the tower was full of talent. Not least the wonderful and talented Khadija Saye, who died with her mother, on the verge of a major breakthrough as an artist.

He also said:

We the media report the lack of diversity in other walks of life, but our own record is nothing like good enough.

The Sutton Trust has revealed this year that just under 80% of top editors were educated at private schools or grammar schools. Compare that with the 88% of the British public now in comprehensives.

Itís why I want to urge anyone and everyone in this room with the power to do it: give individuals who work with and for you the space to do something, anything, in the wider community we are here to communicate with.

We have the technology to create that space for ourselves. We have the freedom if we are willing to take it.

If you still feel that you need permission to be part of changing the world, you will wait until the end of time.

Go and make waves.

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