With Election Day approaching newsbrands feel their responsibility

From “fake news” potentially increasing trust in classic newsbrands to how his TV presence could dial things up for Jeremy Corbyn – last week at OMD UK we were able to witness a fascinating discussion between seven political editors from the UK’s major daily newsbrands.

We welcomed Joe Twyman, Head of Political and Social Research at YouGov, and the political editors of Daily Mirror, Independent, Guardian, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail to OMD UK’s office to discuss their thoughts on the upcoming General Election in a short Friday morning session. This follows a similar (and equally fascinating) debate we held last year around Brexit and how influential newsbrands were in the build up to the EU referendum.

All were in agreement that their editorial must reflect the readers’ views, and that their role is to educate and inform readers in the lead up to the General Election rather than sway their opinion. They were also confident that people will continue to pay for high quality journalism provided it’s able to help them navigate the core issues. Another interesting point raised was that only two titles (Daily Telegraph & Daily Mirror) have remained loyal to one political party in the last 100 years, where others have changed views due to shifting reader opinion.

Why “fake news” could mean trust issues for social media

As both major parties use social media as an increasingly important part of their campaign strategy, it was discussed how impactful the channel will be in the election and whether traditional media still has a big role to play. Whilst it was agreed that social media will be more prominent than ever before, the panel suggested that the increased awareness of ‘fake’ news in the American election could mean voters revert back to trusted sources like TV and newsbrands for their main political news consumption.

It was also noted that a core part of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign is focussed on increasing his TV coverage – something the Conservatives shouldn’t underestimate given TV is still considered by some to be the biggest driver for political news in the UK. Another discussion was around the Conservatives’ campaign focusing on leadership and Labour’s failing of it, with Jeremy Corbyn and Labour focusing on policy and highlighting how the Conservatives are failing on this with the U-turn on their social care plan.

Interesting snapshot of the UK’s views and opinions

Whilst every journalist thinks it will be a Conservative majority come Election Day, they feel there is cause for concern for Theresa May on what early polls were suggesting was a foregone conclusion. This is even more the case following Theresa May’s refusal to take part in any debates so far this week, which the other parties suggested shows weak leadership.

I think it is safe to say they all agreed this wasn’t going to be a great election for Tim Farron and the Lib Dems and that they are likely to lose some of the few seats they hold. Overall the debate was well received and helped to give a snapshot of the UK’s views and opinions around the election, whilst showing Newsbrands still have a large part to play in influencing the nation’s politics.

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Louis Mayne

Louis is an Associate Director in OMD UK’s Investment team.

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