The first-year broadcast journalism students here at CBJ have been working hard to compile profiles for every candidate standing in the forthcoming Nottingham City Council elections.
We have been aiming to compile biographical details and photographs for everyone pitching for a seat and, with a total of 55 seats, across 20 wards, and up to a dozen candidates per ward, this has been a considerable undertaking.
But we didn’t realise just how considerable until we started our research and were astonished to find just how few candidates can be found on social media or, indeed, have any digital platform whatsoever.
Despite trawls of party websites and news sites far and wide, many of these candidates are nowhere to be found.
We have tried emailing and calling political party offices and, even, home numbers and we are still struggling to gather the information.
If we are finding this so hard, what about voters wanting to know about the candidates hoping to represent them? How do these people hope to attract votes on polling day when there is so little information about them available?
In today’s digital world there is no reason why this should be the case. Surely the first thing anyone wanting to represent their community should do is to inform that community of who they are and what they about. But this doesn’t seem to be happening here in Nottingham.
The turn-out at local elections is low, traditionally no higher than 35 per cent and here maybe a reason for this. Is it any wonder that voters are struggling to be engaged when candidates are so invisible?
Two magazines produced by CBJ’s Magazine Journalism students are available to read now via our new digital platform.
Women’s Tri, winner of this year’s Dragons’ Den contest for the best magazine pitch at CBJ, combines interviews with top women triathletes with advice on training and which kit to buy, plus novice Alyss Bowen takes on the challenge of cycling, swimming and running with triathletes in Nottingham.
Meanwhile, ahead of the General Election, top broadcaster Kay Burley talks to Core magazine about her career in political journalism. Core also has reviews, features and Mike Pettifer’s column on why he feared the end of the world would scupper his plans to become a train driver.