Journalism and Hung Parliaments

Don’t you love blog posts that save their most interesting observation for the last paragraph?

Of course, if we do get a deeply hung parliament then that will also raise all sorts of interesting procedural issues for journalists – especially the BBC. Generally, governments – especially new ones – are given the dominant position in news coverage and allowed to dictate terms and set agendas because they have the popular mandate. But if we have a minority administration it raises the question of just how to balance stories.

Based on the polls, we might not have long to answer that question…

  • Hung Parliament would be heaven for hyperlocal news sites!

  • Hi Adam,
    One of the reasons I left it to the end was that I hadn’t thought through exactly what follows for organisations like the BBC who are expected to ‘balance’ coverage in a pseudo-scientific manner.
    I am reminded of the latter stages of John Major’s administration when the Eurosceptics were given equal billing to the Government. They were holding the Major administration to ransom even thought they were a relatively tiny group led by mavericks such as Bill Cash. The BBC is usually accused of being Europhile but this small group of highly ideological people (‘bastards’ as Major refererred to them)dictated the terms of the debate.
    History might say that the journalists were right to get so excited about the Europsceptics because a) they did effectively destroy Major’s administration b) they were much more representative of public opinion than the House of Commons c) they were the story, the new element that was changing things.
    I am not sure how that historical analogy fits into a post May 6th world (most historical analogies are similiarly specious) but it reminds us that journalism is an art not a science and may well have to adapt to new circumstances.
    My prediction is that the right-wing press will become more manically pro-Cameron in a desperate attempt to discredit collaborative politics. It will be fascinating to see how the BBC copes with that. One of the few dismal things about their election coverage has been the occasional lapse into following the Mail agenda.

  • That it would. I wonder if a changed electoral system would, too…

  • And now you’re leaving your most interesting thoughts in comments. 😉