birmingham – madonna or whore?

Again to reference Pete Ashton, who has put together something very well thought out about the recent national media coverage of Birmingham. For those who just want to read this post then quickly forget about the whole thing, let me recap;

  • when directly questioned 48% of surveyed people think manchester is britain’s second city (40% brum, 12% obviously couldn’t give a fig)
  • we’re the rudest city in the country – according to a survey run to in some was promote a very low ranking supermarket (lower even than Safebury’s in my estimation anyway)
  • the interior designer fella that people assume is gay, but actually isn’t did a Holiday report on us and recommended us as a weekend break

Pete is very dismissive of all the journalistic work that has gone into the coverage all this, very rightly in the case of the rudeness survey, and seems to pretty much be saying “what’s the point?”. I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

I was asked by News 24 and Kerrang! Radio to comment on the second city and rudeness debates respectively – judge for yourself whether asking me constitutes lazy journalism – and in a way i feel a bit guilty in playing their games. I tried to be dismissive about both, after all what does this sort of thing actually prove – and if people think we’re rude then they can just sod off ;)

BUT – while most of Birmingham: It’s Not Shit is really aimed at Brummies, and I’m sure if i was marketing Birmingham to the rest of the country I’d do a little bit less on Carl Chinn and The 11 route and a little more on the Ikon gallery too – through lazy journalism, the national media do display a prejudice against us. And worse, the people that are paid to promote us – to get our retaliation in early – (supposedly – unless these people here are not real) don’t even think they do a good job.

Do we have to be ‘Malmaison’ perfect for Mr Llewelyn-Bowen , or something for Terry Christian to slag off on a slow news week? Can’t we be represented as a fairly huge diverse mass of contradictions?

Or is that not easily focus grouped?

2 comments for “birmingham – madonna or whore?

  1. Pete Ashton
    15 February 2007 at 6:19 pm

    My complaint is less to do with coverage of Birmingham and more to do with lazy journalism in general. I usually avoid this sort of thing but monitoring the Birmingham news feeds means it’s in my face these days, and it annoys me.

    The surveys are stupid but my issue was how they were layered into a separate story to make it “controversial” and “edgy”. You expect this sort of tripe in the Metro but on the BBC news site?

    The Holiday show was actually very good. Birmingham aside Llewelyn-Bowen showed himself to be a very astute and thorough reporter covering many more bases with a lot more depth than you’d expect. Yes, it was very Mailbox centric but that’s the sort of thing people want for a weekend break – a bit of luxury escapism. It was great to see the Jewellery Quarter and Synagogue getting some coverage – I bet a lot of Brummies don’t appreciate them enough let alone visitors.

    The whole issue of promoting Birmingham is a complicated one but I think a lot of it comes down to the likes of us. Marketing Birmingham were apparently behind the Holiday thing having pushed for it for a year, and that’s good, but we provide the details which feed them. Or something. I’m rambling.

  2. bounder
    15 February 2007 at 6:29 pm

    I’m afraid we’ll see more and more ‘lazy’ (sometimes rushed, time-pressured understaffed, and underfunded) journalism as time goes on,

    The mainstream media seems to be using the digital revolution to drive costs down at the expense of quality – this is the owners, the capitalists, not the journos themselves – and unfortunately the blog may to be one of the things that’s doing it.

    How often does a managing director see a ‘citizen journalism’ piece without thinking “kerching!! free content!, free photos”? When the true cost of a well thought out blog entry or a well taken CC licensed photo – is the same in terms of effort and quality of thinking.

    If i was to do this full time I’d want more than most Trinity Mirror staffers I’m sure.

    And for once, I have no idea what the answer is. Except a workers revolution.

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