Still Spinning

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and from today’s Irish Times

Further to this week’s publication of the review of the Strategic Communications Unit by Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach Martin Fraser…

And the publication of an accompanying report into the SCU and the Project Ireland 2040 initiative by Assistant Secretary at the department Elizabeth Canavan…

In today’s Irish Times, the newspaper’s political correspondent Harry McGee reports:

There was also a claim in the media that MediaForce Ireland had directed editors to make advertorial copy look like news. The basis for this claim was an earlier campaign by MediaForce Ireland conducted for Creative Ireland, which had no connection to the SCU. The conflation of this separate campaign with Project 2040 led to claims that similar instructions were sent to newspapers. There was no evidence to bear out this claim.”

“Ms Canavan carried out an in-depth review of over 50 newspapers, and interviewed all the main protagonists in the controversy, including newspaper editors. She found no basis for the allegation SCU staff pressurised editors, directly or indirectly, to portray advertorials as news.”

And yet…

From Ms Canavan’s report…

This is the email which was sent from Mediaforce to regional newspapers, as supplied to Ms Canavan by Mediaforce…

From: Shane Treanor

Date: 19 February 2018 at 10:54:42 GMT

Subject: National Dev Plan

Hi all

Apologies for the group mail.

A couple of points on the above that I wanted to reiterate.

In terms of strapline – attached is an idea of how this should look.

It should read National Development Plan in partnership with the Government of
Ireland – you should be able to get the logo from department website.

This will clearly illustrate to readers that this is a Govt initiative.

In terms of the editorial – Dessie is sending this now. The idea is that this will not be a copy and paste job from the document. More that the points in it, in relation to your area, should be enhanced somewhat. It’s a guide to take your readers through what the plan means for them (and so needs some editorial team back up to finesse the message). The pieces and articles should fit with the tone of your papers – that’s what got this over the line. Some of you will notice the same piece may cover 3 or 4 counties … This emphasises more why we need some editorial input to really localise the message for your readers.

Any images that you need – you should have on file be that pictures of a
road/school/sports ground etc.

As mentioned I do (and the client too) appreciate that you will cover what this plan means for your locale independently on your pages this week – but that will fall outsid these 2 pages. The idea is that within these pages – the plan for your area should be laid out clearly and concisely.

Hope that this is all clear for you.

Any questions please give me a call.

I understand that this is an unusual project. However I really need us to do a good job on this as I believe if we do, there should be more to come on this project and indeed other issues, such as Brexit, in the coming weeks and months.

Shane

And this is the email supplied to Ms Canavan by an editor of a regional newspaper…

Apologies for the group mail.

A couple of points on the above that I wanted to reiterate.

In terms of strapline – attached is an idea of how this should look.
It should read ‘Brought to you in partnership with Project Ireland 2040’

This will clearly illustrate to readers that this is a Govt initiative and negate the need to have ADVERTORIAL on the page etc.

In terms of the editorial. The idea is that this will not be a copy and paste job from the document. More that the points in it, in relation to your area, should be enhanced somewhat. It’s a guide to take your readers through what the plan means for them (and so needs some editorial team back up to finesse the message). The pieces and articles should fit with the tone of your papers – that’s what got this over the line. Some of you will notice the same piece may cover 3 or 4 counties … This emphasises more why we need some editorial
input to really localise the message for your readers.

Any images that you need – you should have on file be that pictures of a road/school/sports ground etc.

As mentioned I do (and the client too) appreciate that you will cover what this plan means for your locale independently on your pages this week – but that will fall outside these 2 pages. The idea is that within these pages – the plan for your area should be laid out clearly and concisely.

Hope that this is all clear for you.
Any questions please give me a call.

I understand that this is an unusual project. However I really need us to do a good job on this as I believe if we do, there should be more to come on this project and indeed other issues, such as Brexit, in the coming weeks and months.

Shane

Spot the difference?

8 thoughts on “Still Spinning

    1. JIMMYJAMES

      ” Negate “, what a word eh? Can’t blame the oul’ editors, I mean who couldn’t interpret that as a straight up licence to go crazy.

  1. steve white

    Harry McGee says there was no evidence that Mediaforce directed advertorial copy look like news “The pieces and articles should fit with the tone of your papers” theres your evidence and this line is both versions of the email.

  2. steve white

    Martin Fraser says he doesn’t want the government to stop using native advertising (pg15) https://t.co/TCLcoL8EH5 this is what the problem was. the entire point of native advertising is to makes ads look like news.

  3. JIMMYJAMES

    ” Negate ” What a great but little used buzz word, the typa sh!t€ that would give Lord Sugar a semi if he heard it in his boardroom.

    In any case the cracks are really starting to show as regards Leo’s ability as leader.

  4. JIMMYJAMES

    ” Negate “, what a word eh? Can’t blame the oul’ editors, I mean who couldn’t interpret that as a straight up licence to go crazy.

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