Political

The media league table: how did the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet do?

The power and importance of MPs is a factor not only of the posts they hold and their behind-the-scenes influence but also their media savvy. So how did the members of the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet do during their conference week at gathering media coverage?

Mandate has crunched the numbers, looking at coverage secured in the print media and their online versions over the Lib Dem conference, and here are the top 15 in order of volume of coverage:

1. Nick Clegg
2. Vince Cable
3. Chris Huhne
4. Steve Webb
5. Danny Alexander
6. Edward Davey
7. Sarah Teather
8. Tim Farron
9. Julia Goldsworthy
10. Alistair Carmichael
11. Norman Baker
12. David Laws
13. Lynne Featherstone
14. David Howarth
15. Norman Lamb

There are no surprises in the top three, except perhaps that Nick Clegg secured the top slot by a wide margin over Vince Cable. Norman Baker, normally a star coverage getter, had a fairly quiet week whilst David Howarth, usually quiet on the media front, had a particularly good week. The other ‘surprise’ entry in the list is for Alistair Carmichael, whilst notably missing from the list is Simon Hughes – never normally one to knowingly walk by a journalist without offering a quote.

9 responses to “The media league table: how did the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet do?”

  1. It never ceases to amaze me that the print media is the primary outlet that is analysed. Its impact versus broadcast media (particularly television) is negligible.

    It’s easier to measure I guess, but a chart of estimated audience reach for TV and radio interviews would be much more valuable.

  2. That’s a fair point, though in a case such as this I think the newspaper measure is a reasonable proxy for overall media coverage. It’s pretty rare to get an MP who, say, excels at national TV coverage but bombs when it comes to newspaper coverage.

  3. Mark I have to disagree that the newspaper measure is a reasonable proxy for overall media coverage if we take into account newspaper readership figures vs TV reach. One broadcast hit can equal a pile of newspaper comments both in terms of reach and impact.

    Its true that MPs that do well on TV are usually good in newspapers – but the reverse is far from true…..it’s frankly all TOO COMMON to find MPs who are good at newspaper comments/articles but frankly bl**dy awful on TV. To put it as one journalist said about a certain nameless MP … “he would not know a sound bite if it bit him on the ar*e”

    Its a real struggle trying to explain to people the importance of broadcast media in terms of reach and as importantly its value in building recognition and then trust of individual MPs. But its important we persist with the message.

    To this end, I think that it would be a good idea in future when we refer to such lists we describe them acccurately e.g. as “print / blog media” league tables or some such thing – NOT as “MEDIA” league tables.

    In fact, if the press office can supply me with the times/dates/channels of broadcast appearances I will happily translate that into numbers of people reached.
    That’ll raise a few eyebrows……

  4. Interesting points Angela. It’s true some people come over badly on TV, but then also some come over badly in print. Unless you get into rating each individual mention or appearance (which has merit as an approach, but is very resource intensive) I think volume of print coverage is useful, being a good indicator of overall volume of coverage for an MP.

    The alternative is also not quite as straight-forward as knowing the appearances an MP has made, because they get reused. E.g. you give one radio interview which may then be syndicated on several local radio stations.

    But it is a fair point about being clearer on what the table does and doesn’t cover. Will bear that in mind for the Labour conference one that we’ll pull together at the end of this week.

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