It’s only a little footnote in the history of news in Leeds, but worth recording: the BBC local news feed has been dropped from the home page of the Leeds City Council website.
Up until last month’s latest revamp of the site’s home page, visitors used to get the headlines of a few local news stories (good and bad news) provided by the BBC alongside the “good” news stories delivered by the council’s in-house communications team.
Now there’s just the good news.
Why the change of heart?
Maybe the risk wasn’t worth running any more – the risk of a BBC news story like this one popping up on the council’s home page courtesy of the apparently unmoderated BBC news feed. That would have been … erm … awkward.
The answer may lie in a local media column last year that suggested that the council opt for a “relentlessly positive” picture of the city on its website.
(Click on the image to read the full article)
The “sometimes gritty reality of city life” given in the BBC news feed certainly helped make the site more lively than the typical council offering, a commentator on the Yorkshire business news website Business Desk said.
“But when you might get just one chance to present an impression of the city to a chief executive looking to invest in the UK, the headline “Rapist sex prison nurse jailed” might not be the one you would go for,” he added.
“For the curious keen to learn about Leeds, there is a diverse media and blogging community presenting the many different faces of the city, good and bad. Council officials worried about adopting a Pravda-esque approach can rest assured there is plenty of balance out there.
“Leading councillors and top officials are relentlessly positive about Leeds. Maybe the authority’s website should be too,” he concluded.
And lo, it came to pass!