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What Do You Think? Have Your Say. Comment. Contribute

Friday 14 May 2010, 15:39
By John Baxter

John Baxter, our Editor!HITS ON THE WINDOW

As our hits reach an average of 75 per day with over 1,762 in the last four weeks, it is interesting to note that the most looked at articles on the Window are the political profiles of Annunziata Rees-Mogg and David Heath, the Diary, Headlines and the report on the Wincanton Hustings. This is understandable for this General Election and its consequences will affect all our lives.

ADVANTAGES OF A WEB MAGAZINE

Our reason for starting the Wincanton Window has been to provide a means of communication that focuses on Wincanton and its people and what affects us here. More people now see that the Window can do this particularly well. Cheaper to run than any paper, it allows for the coverage of issues and events in breadth and depth, in full colour and lavishly illustrated like nothing else. On top of that, unlike a newspaper that goes into the bin after a few days, every Window article remains easily accessible.

POLITICAL BIAS AND THE UNDER-REPORTING OF LOCAL NEWS IN THE MEDIA

This General Election exposed how biased the national press is and how arrogant and removed from reality the broadcast media have become. Both were taken completely by surprise by what happened. The super rich media owners and the TV companies have dominated the communications media and have been able to control and trivialise the agenda. One result is that local news and the serious examination of really local issues has been starved of coverage and debate. This again is something a local town-focused web-magazine can work to put right – but to do so it needs much more input and involvement from YOU.

CAN A WEB MAG LIKE THE WINDOW BE BIASED? NOT IF IT HAS AN OPEN EDITORIAL POLICY

If there is freedom for all to comment at the end of every article and if any local person is free to contribute – within the bounds of civility, decency and libel, while individual articles may be partisan or controversial, the publication itself is not. This is another way in which a web magazine differs from a printed publication. The national and even the regional press usually have a clear political bias and EXCLUDE MATERIAL they do not agree with. In contrast the Window's Open Editorial Policy encourages people of different views to express them. This is just beginning to happen and I hope we will see it develop a great deal more.

HOW WE CAN MOVE FROM TOKEN TO WIDESPREAD CONSULTATION

As things stand the Town Council, the District Council and the County Council can all seem remote to the average person in Mundays Mead or South Street. For example a new Health Centre is planned, but however sensibly and carefully this may have been done, it is likely to be decided after a process of consultation which has only involved a handful of people. The same has been the case as regards planning decisions, the erection of traffic crossings and signs, the planning and building of housing, the deployment of policing, cctv, what goes on in our schools, the collection of rubbish, the replacement of drains, etc, etc.

The existence of the Window however makes it quite possible for plans to be put online and for them to be commented on by anyone. If this is done in time there can be real active public consultation and debate with both elected councillors and council staff. This is a whole new ball game which has yet to be developed and which will be unsettling for those who think they can do their job without making use of the opportunities a computer, a digital camera and an open local web-magazine can provide. As things stand I noted a couple of months ago that District Council staff set up a "consultation" about potential flood awareness with a "public meeting" in Churchfields. Who went to it I wonder? Council meetings are "open to the public" but how many can or will go to them? How much better to have the relevant official write an illustrated article for the Window complete with maps and descriptions and opportunities for feed-back before or sometimes after the meeting. Technically this is now not difficult or time consuming to do.

SIGN UP, LOG IN AND MAKE YOUR COMMENT

This is where Dave Smith's work in providing us with the opportunity to make comments on the Window comes in. This is really important for anything can now be commented on immediately and if I or anyone else appears to be politically biased or to have got things wrong - views can be challenged and errors corrected. So look and read carefully and do not be slow to use this. We also badly need a team of regular contributors. I cannot cover everything and for the Window to succeed it really needs to become a focus for discussion and dialogue, and for lively debate over local issues or broader issues that will affect us, so if this General Election or anything else has stirred you up to want to have your say, PLEASE DO SO!

John Baxter




Comments

johnsmith
Posts: 1
Comment
Contributions
Reply #1 on : Fri May 14, 2010, 16:21:19
Readers (hits) are on the up. 1700+ and growing. Well done the Window. A great service for the community.

Bias.
The only bias on The window is that of the individual articles submitted. Now that you can register as a user, you can submit your comments to help bring a balance. It's up to you the readers. This magazine is for the whole community of Wincanton. Register today as a user and you will have the ability to reply to any or all articles.

Where Next?
I suggest that The Window offers an amazing opportunity for all businesses and organisations to get their messages across to the people and businesses of Wincanton. So far only a few are catching on. This is FREE advertising. Take advantage. Get those articles coming in telling The Window who you are, what your business/organisation is, and why you are the best to do it. Take the time to submit articles every month. It will make a big difference.

Finally.....
Keep telling friends, family and work colleagues about The window. Help us to make this magazine the premier magazine for news and view in this area. With time, effort, and your support The Window will be able to do much much more in the future.
James Phillips
Posts: 1
Comment
Contributions
Reply #2 on : Fri May 14, 2010, 23:28:49
I'd love to contribute, if only I could find/think of something meaningful to contribute.

I still check daily for news however!

Posts: 1
Comment
Contributions
Reply #3 on : Sat May 15, 2010, 12:55:27
I know what you mean James, but I don’t think you need to have anything earth-shatteringly original or witty or important to say. The little things are what keep our community ticking over: when are those blooming roadworks going to be finished in Balsam Fields? Isn’t it an eyesore that people put all their rubbish sacks out on the pavements far too early in the week? Review a particularly good shop or business in town that gave an excellent service or went that extra mile for you.

It’d be great to see everyone sharing their opinions of the town, good and bad.

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