Last night I watched Hampshire’s cricketers win a very good victory over Sussex. This morning I read the report in the News attributed to Steve Wilson (with photo). Strange that, because I spend most matchdays in the media centre (doing some radio work) and Steve wasn’t there. Strange too that ‘his’ report was very much like the BBC’s. Steve’s a very good sports writer and it’s not his fault that local ‘papers often don’t send reporters even to home games – they just take the official ‘agency’ report.
The same newspaper however had plenty of reporters around the seafront over the last few days and they summed everything up yesterday with this front page plus further coverage on 16 more pages plus a 16 page special supplement.
I hope that overall the event reflected well on the city – I wouldn’t invest the time, energy and money I do on local projects if I didn’t care about the place – indeed care isn’t really a strong enough word. But was it really that great? I don’t mean the weather, that’s just Sod’s Law, but we had plenty of predictions of crowds expected to be between 250-500,000 while even the News yesterday was admitting to 75,000 on the one good day (Saturday). The city seemed less invaded and less gridlocked than was anticipated. Lots of people (including me) paid money for Saturday only to discover that lots of other people got in free, and people have complained about not being allowed to bring food in – thereby being charged very high prices in the arena for often pretty ordinary stuff. But MRA and I sat on the beach by the Aquarium on Thursday and watched lots of people unpacking picnic lunches they’d brought in with them. Meanwhile many of the regular traders around the arena have complained vociferously at loss of trade.
None of that means the event was a disaster but it wasn’t quite the triumph either and it struck me that the local media pretty well turned into an arm of the Council’s PR machine. From the report of Saturday night’s concert I thought it must have been the greatest live gig ever staged but I was there, and it wasn’t.
Perhaps to redress the balance, one of our national ‘papers has focussed on a different story today
Sorry to be a misery – here’s a link from Mick to cheer you up