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By: David Wilkinson
Date: 27/01/2005

THE news that the club are banning Radio Humberside from contact with the players is depressing and highlights the "small town" mentality that still besets our club.

Home > Features > 2005 Features > Blunderside!

"Keep the Mariners Afloat" is a campaign which should be occupying our every effort - instead, we take our eye off the ball and threaten the effectiveness of the campaign itself.

Why do I label the attitude a "small town mentality"? Simply this - in their statement GTFC criticise the negativity of their "media partners" (ie Radio Humberside). The media are not our partners - nor should they be.

...The BBC have a duty to report...

The BBC media (ie. Humberside) is owned by the licence payers and they have a duty to report, analyse and comment. Should they feel the need to criticise then so they should. What they have not got an obligation to do is to reflect (without critical comment) the views of the club regardless of whether or not those views are valid, fair or reasonable.

All grown-up businesses, corporations and political parties understand this. Whatever the issue they spend a lot of time, effort and money to "spin" their story to make sure it gets the right airing in the media. No one, not even our club can expect to simply trot out a line and then have it taken up and promoted by the media irrespective of its merits.

As a private company, the Evening Telegraph is different. They may well judge that the interests of its shareholders lie in promoting the campaign as a partner - after all, it can do their circulation figures no harm.

That is not to say that all is well with Radio Humberside, I have also been irritated by their pro-Hull bias but I will say that this season, from my listening, Burns has done much to rectify this. But that's not the point.

...Understand the way in which the media works...

The Club have done this before - they disagreed with a Telegraph story a little while ago and then banned the reporter from the ground. Just as deep a misunderstanding of why we have newspapers as this sorry episode. I would advise whoever deals with Town's press and publicity to follow these 3 simple rules.

  1. Understand the way in which the media works - it is not good enough to issue a press release or make a statement and then expect the media simply to put it in the window as if they were a local notice board.
  2. Try to preempt what the reaction of media commentators is likely to be and get them "on side" beforehand. Remember, when someone goes on to an interview it isn't to answer questions, it's to put over a point of view. Whatever questions are asked just use them as a vehicle to say what it is you want to say. Even better to have a clear idea of what it is you want to say!
  3. Finally, including the media is better than excluding them. Who needs each other most? Why not get Humberside behind the scenes at Blundell Park - exclusive interviews - creating the odd snippet of news to get them interested. From our point of view the degree of truth is secondary to the need to acquire the "oxygen of publicity". It will be far better than to have them sniping from outside.

Above all, grow up. Boycotts and bans are things of the past. We live in a world dominated and driven by the media; if we can't get on who loses?

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