Politics: it’s a love and hate thing for newspapers

“I hate politics, it’s boring.”

“I love politics – and it’s so important to people’s lives.”

Those were the views of two reporters on the same paper in one-to-ones within minutes of each other earlier this week.

I’m a bit of a politics geek, so personally I’m with my second colleague.

But I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.

As I’ve said before here, we probably quote politicians too often, and cover too many tedious twists and turns of long-running council sagas.

But, as the Guardian says, the election that takes place on May 7 next year is in many ways already under way.

With many areas also hosting council elections on the same date, there is likely to be an awful lot of politics in the next few months.

Much of it can usefully be ignored.

But the extraordinary 84.6 per cent turnout in the recent Scottish independence referendum shows that people can be engaged by politics.

Over the next few months, I hope the regional media will think about how we can persuade people that next year’s polls are worth their time and attention, and that politics actually affects all our lives.

That’s likely to involve making the most of the opportunities offered by data journalism and web storytelling, and some tough questioning (possibly fuelled by ideas from readers) of the candidates.

The more we can breathe new life into our coverage, the better for democracy.

And maybe even for print sales and web figures too.


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