John Hartevelt wonders if Labour will address the style/existence of Red Alert, the Labour Party’s blog in their revamp of the party.
Red Alert is mostly a train-wreck. Yet some of their MPs get it: Grant Robertson, Phil Twyford and David Cunliffe all seem to understand the basic principles, and write pretty good stuff. Cunliffe’s blogging on the 2011 budget was a text-book example of what an opposition blog should be.
I think the idea Labour needs to grasp is that writing a blog is a form of public communications – the media (and many others) read it and they’ll turn it around into a story if its newsworthy. It’s like sending out a press release, or giving a media conference.
Now, I’m pretty sure that if Clare Curran wanted to send a press release to all the media telling them she thought they were terrible at their jobs, or if Darien Fenton wanted to call a press conference and encourage the nation to boycott the Mad Butcher, there would be processes within the party that stopped them doing that. But for some reason they can just jump on their blog and say whatever they want.
So I’d keep Red Alert, but fold it into the general communications strategy. That means planning. Oversight. Co-ordination. If the leader announces a policy on the same day Trevor Mallard blogs that he’s waxed off all his body-hair to decrease his wind resistance, the latter will be what leads the news. Labour’s MPs have been very slow to grasp this.
If I were them I’d stop issuing press releases and make Red Alert the primary communications tool for the party. But if they can’t control it they need to scrap it.