December 07, 2006

Processing the processes

I’m working on what C.J. Cregg would call a “process story”. Process stories are when an institution makes a decision (or doesn’t make a decision) in such a stupid way that it overshadows the decision (or indecision) itself.

In The West Wing, politicians hated it when journalists started working on a ‘process story’ because it made them look bad. They’d much rather put out a press release on something remotely positive and let the journalists feast on that for a few hours.

In local politics, that doesn’t seem to happen. Cardiff Council does put out press releases about the smallest minutiae, but seems to prefer the “run and hide” approach to dealing with a story they don’t like.

I’m struggling to make my story interesting, as whenever anyone asks me what it concerns I usually spend about ten seconds going “erm…uh…well…er…” before working out what it’s really about.

But hopefully this weekend I’m going to put a human interest angle onto it which – if actually published anywhere – would pull on the heartstrings much harder and make the council look like cold-hearted bastards.

Because as much as public relations people hate process stories getting out, us journalists don’t like writing them much either.

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