29th January 2015

The general election countdown has begun- Media coverage is in full flow

The media has always seen itself as a key player in any general election. The Sun once famously claimed that it was their front page which clinched victory for the Tories in 1992, when they declared on Page One;

In typical Sun fashion they weren’t shy to highlight their contribution the next day;

But in these days of instant access media through social channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube politicians are far better placed to interact with the public in a much more direct way.

And earlier this week Twitter introduced the facility for advertisers to target campaigns to specific postcodes, meaning political parties will be able to run high-profile offensives in hotly-contested areas.

Social media gives MPs and potential MPs the opportunity to show a much more human side to the public rather than relying on traditional media to act as a conduit for them.

It has been widely reported that the result of the vote on May 7 is the most difficult to predict in recent history.

Those caught in a ‘who to vote for’ conundrum won’t be helped by the period of purdah which is due to begin on March 30.

Derived from the Persian word for curtain, purdah prevents central and local government from announcing any new or controversial government plans or initiatives.

It also allows civil servants and government departments to plan for any significant policy changes which may result out of the election result.

Five years ago purdah was also applied to social media channels. The guidance given read: “Use of Twitter may continue for publishing factual information only in line with guidance on news media.”

Thanks to the constant flow of information, staff working on media websites are constantly updating the polls with infographics;

The media will still play a huge part in influencing the general election result but with the online facilities available to them, politicians now running for Parliament have a better chance than ever to win over their constituency.

By Dave Goddard, Head of Media