R T

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  • in reply to: Welsh Government Funded news stories #241616

    R T
    Keymaster

    This is now live!

    Reforming the Welsh Parliament: Senedd members raise concerns about residency rules, vacant seats, and ministerial powers

    Quite interesting, and pretty nailed on that it wouldn’t be covered anywhere else.

    in reply to: Tweets from @wrexham #238149

    R T
    Keymaster

    It is really annoying!

    Elon Musk has decided not just to make parts of Twitter – now X – chargeable, but turn off various bits of the API regardless.

    We had some code that spoke with Twitter and reproduced our timeline on the site. That has been disabled by Twitter.

    We tried to use the ‘widget’ that was always the next best option, however that has been deliberately broken by Musk. https://twittercommunity.com/c/publisher/websites/9 has quite a few people unhappy with it.

    Now it seems those logged into Twitter will see our timeline, and those logged out will see an unspecific ‘top tweets’ view of some more recentish high liked tweets.

    For a website and app that is meant to be around live updates and realtime information, that policy decision seems odd.

    Over time MySpace Google Buzz, Bebo, Periscope, Vine and more were all the future and now are dead. Wrexham.com uses social media but it is always in the back of our mind that they will likely go pop or change how they do things, so focus on putting stuff on the site.

    It is a pain as it was nice to pop a pic on Twitter knowing it would auto appear here! :) Will work on new method somehow…

    in reply to: Welsh Government Funded news stories #236855

    R T
    Keymaster

    https://www.olddailypostlink.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/mark-drakeford-admits-wales-under-27258154? has popped up.

    Worth noting that is by “Bronwen Weatherby, PA” – Wales correspondent for Press Association.

    You can pay the Press Association about £15-20k a year for a feed and are then able to republish it.

    in reply to: Welsh Government Funded news stories #236852

    R T
    Keymaster

    Searching for stories on that this morning on titles that claim to be ‘local’ reveal zero stories.

    The BBC has https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-wales-66104269 .

    Incidentally both ‘local’ titles managed to report (one written by the ‘SEO Reporter’) on a false story on Rob McElhenney’s personal life. A story that originated via an anon email to a USA gossip site that was then picked up.

    Is that because readers want more celeb gossip than actual reporting of big issues, or one generates more traffic / clicks / ads so is worth doing?

    Or, to follow the logic on critics of the scheme in this thread, as the titles get large amounts of cash via the statutory notice system and large amounts of cash from Welsh Gov ads they don’t want to rock the boat?

    It does highlight the paucity of ‘proper’ reporting. Imagine a well funded media that does the ‘boring’ bits and what we all may learn.

    in reply to: Welsh Government Funded news stories #236503

    R T
    Keymaster

    Also, since writing that wall of text – the BBC have covered it as well with comment from Rich Gurner, editor and publisher of the Caerphilly Observer “I think the success of the LDRS in highlighting the work that councils do that can be mirrored by this project, and hopefully increase the understanding of the Senedd and its workings.”

    He said in part the project was making-up for market failure: “It’s is difficult to cast the blame on individual organisation, because if you ask any editor in any newsroom if they would like to have a dedicated reporter covering certain parts of society they would say yes, of course they would.

    “Unfortunately the current business model of the media is under huge amount of pressure and those resources that were perhaps there 30, 40, even 10 years ago, aren’t there today.”

    He added: “If there was any sort of suggestion that there would be editorial interference, I wouldn’t be involved in the project.

    “One of the caveats I’ve had in basically agreeing to be the home for this reporter is that you know, the final editorial say rests with with me.”

    More from BBC Wales political reporter on
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-66031549

    in reply to: Welsh Government Funded news stories #236502

    R T
    Keymaster

    Funding announced for new dedicated Senedd Reporter after Welsh independent media push

    The reporter is not being run by Welsh Gov or anyone close, as the article states – we wouldn’t be involved in anything like that.

    The good thing about what we do is what we publish is public. I would challenge anyone to show us as being a mouthpiece of anyone :) Likewise the output from this will be the same so easy to monitor.

    It has been our long held view that there is often more coverage over what goes on in our Guildhall than in the Senedd and something needs to change that. Legacy dying media are either not interested or don’t have the resources to do it – or both.

    A while back we trialed a Press Association feed and it was all but empty. During that trial we saw how some big media groups operation – it is why school and health stories from England and Scotland appear on Welsh news sites, but it is all traffic so who cares right?

    An opportunity to come up with ideas for half of this ‘pot’ of money arose and we again put forward the idea of a Senedd Reporter to hopefully go and have a poke down there, create some unique articles and add to the eyes on the place. The hope is it will be a bit like the Local Democracy Reporters that are currently funded as part of the UK Gov’s licence fee settlement – and are arms arms arms length away from that.

    If it works as intended there will be a new reporter based out of the https://caerphilly.observer/ (a bit like Wrexham.com or MyWelshpool down there) that the independent media of Wales can ‘direct’ – so hopefully lots more appearing on here about the local health board for example.

    The wider debate about who should fund media is an interesting one – assuming you believe media should exist – and who is getting what funding in what way already.

    The public want clickbait – or they indicate that preference by giving nonsense traffic – then a rinse and repeat. Facebook is currently accelerating that with an algorithm change meaning the ‘big boys’ have lost *loads* of traffic, probably the reason their Facebook pages have turned into desperate Peter Kay tribute acts – WalesOnline today asking for a petition to bring back Milky Bars, and more ‘local’ ‘oooh remembers the Beast Market?’ etc Look at several pages from the same media group and popular stuff gets repeated, form up article off reply and feed it back to Facebookers. People love it and engage though.

    Local and national government pay vast sums for ads in legacy publications – legally required ones get in the back of newspapers with no law change to stop it – and lazy media ‘experts’ advise the same for campaigns. There is no desire to ‘destabilise the current model’ – to quote a senior Welsh Gov comms bloke.

    UK Gov recently responded to a UK Parliament review ( https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/39981/documents/195044/default/ ) where UK Gov said they would look at exploring ‘additional fiscal measures’ to support the sector. Currently if you run a newspaper you get a business rates discount – perhaps more tax breaks? Legal Statutory notices wont be binned – basically its confirmed as a subsidy – “sudden withdrawal would seriously damage the sector and are therefore mindful that government intervention has the potential to adversely impact an already fragile industry”.

    There was also a call for an audit of public money that supports the local news sector. That was rejected as apparently everything is done properly already.

    My guess is who wants to be the politician/party/person who cuts off the final chunky revenue stream to ‘local’ papers? Media in Wales (and elsewhere) is in a mess and it probably could kill it. The amount of staff at what people probably think are still huge titles is tiny, and all likely being worked to the bone to hit ever nonsensical click targets.

    There are other options eg. USA has a different cultural view on it, with more philanthropic actions with desire for freedom of speech and interest appearing much higher.

    Back on topic – I would bet £38 no other publication in North Wales, or Wales, has paid the £38 to read the sub evidence about the 20MPH zones https://www.wrexham.com/news/wrexham-public-will-know-in-a-couple-of-weeks-which-roads-will-be-exempt-from-20mph-switch-236442.html

    My hope is the new reporter does that sort of thing, digs more, interviews the Ministers about it and checks out whats going on in the committee meetings down there.

    Should it be done via this cash? Debatable.

    Could the same mini group of indy titles in Wales be funding it direct themselves if they had say just 5% of the £800k promotional spend of the single 20MPH roll out campaign? Yes.

    Imagine if there was competitive commercial access to ALL the wider Welsh Gov ad spend* on the big range of campaigns and what could be done then! Imagine that for local governments…

    The issue is not just public money – the issues are mirrored locally, like Erddig paying for a ‘advertorial’ in Reach PLC and invite us to publish it for free etc etc, the apparently community spirited CO-OP being the opposite… it all contributes to the slow demise of media.

    Perhaps the article should have read ‘bin off the subsidies, and do ads not grants please‘.

    This is far too long a reply to an small point, but it is important and obviously something we care about!

    cheers
    rob
    (co-runs Wrexham.com for anyone unaware reading this)

    * If only there was a list! As there is naff all spend with indy media we recently FOI’ed to find out how big an issue it is… it seems odd grants, PR, interview ops etc are fine but ads are not. As for alleged ‘agency commission’ I would hope those paid to place the ad don’t get a kick back from where the ads end up either.

    https://www.gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2023-05/atisn17405.pdf

    Question:

    Titles and URLs promoted by Welsh Government via paid promotion.
    All campaigns that have been active in the last 12 months to date.

    Answer:

    Childcare Offer for Wales | Help With Childcare Costs Wales
    Superfast broadband
    Your Home in Wales
    Net zero skills Wales
    Safer at 20mph: Let’s look out for each other
    Housing law is changing: Renting Homes Wales
    Talk with me: guidance for practitioners
    Power up wales
    Here to help with the cost of living
    Help Us to Help You
    National Forest for Wales
    Get help with school costs
    Parenting. Give it time.
    Period Proud Wales
    Hate hurts Wales
    The Well-being of Future Generations
    Climate Action Wales
    Workplace safety
    A More Equal Wales: The Socio-economic Duty
    Welsh Language Music Day
    This is not ok – This is control – Concerned about a young person?
    Talk with me
    Live Fear Free helpline
    Don’t make your organ donation decision a guessing game campaign
    Apprenticeships
    Children’s rights: Information for children
    Together we’ll keep Wales safe
    Don’t be a bystander
    Call out only
    This is me
    Ending physical punishment of children
    Working together for a better Wales
    This is not ok – This is control
    Pay less Council Tax
    Cymraeg: education
    Our Valleys, Our Future
    Don’t let money get in the way of university
    Education is changing
    Living donation campaign
    Why choose higher education?
    This is sexual abuse. This is not OK
    Securing Wales’ Future
    30th Anniversary of the UNCRC
    Use your views
    This is control
    Cymraeg for kids

    in reply to: A view from Wrexham’s Member of Parliament #227764

    R T
    Keymaster

    It might have fallen off the front page – but the full archive is viewable on https://www.wrexham.com/columns and nothing deleted :)

    in reply to: Ty pawb ( again ) #210565

    R T
    Keymaster

    A day after the orig post it appears Ty Pawb did a tweet with a timetable, and Wrexham Council have highlighted it this morning specifically noting “Half term activities for children”…

    Perhaps evidence of a ‘more engaged relationship with local media channels’!

    https://twitter.com/wrexhamcbc/status/1452913526557847553

    in reply to: Local data rejected by Cefn Councillor #197434

    R T
    Keymaster

    A month on…

    1. Borras & Rhosnesni 454 per 100k 22 cases

    2. New Broughton 360 per 100k 28 cases

    3. 349 per 100k on Minera 20 cases

    4. The quite broad “Wrexham West” 324 per 100k with 27

    Also looks highest in North Wales aside from pockets in Flintshire.

    Source: https://public.tableau.com/profile/public.health.wales.health.protection#!/vizhome/RapidCOVID-19virology-Public/Headlinesummary – go to the MSOA then drop down for Wrexham

    in reply to: Data breach #197433

    R T
    Keymaster

    This one has been a bit of a puzzler but the server provider has been looking at this since it was flagged up as a possible issue.

    Avast report if an email address is linked to any released data lists current or historic (using them will subscribe you to them) but entering email to https://haveibeenpwned.com/ will give you similar data.

    Wrexham.com does appear on a ‘new’ list of 25,000 sites however the figures involved didn’t seem to match. There are some email addresses we have checked that flag up, but others (my own for this account for example) do not. There are a few other sites that will trigger alerts from sites that have never been used (again as a personal example I am listed on an issue about online game Evony that I have never heard of) , so it is unclear what the reality of any issue is – and it is stated as ‘unverified’ on the above link with commentary from some experts such data is over egged.

    After spending some time investigating it appears the data referenced could have came from the very old vBulletin software the forums ran on, and were moved from back in 2014-15. One of the reasons for moving was for security. On moving from vBulletin to this current software all users had to set new passwords, and to be clear that process would mean any passwords would be new – and even if old ones reused the ‘hash’ or mathematical stored version would be ‘salted’ so would not appear as the same.

    There is no proof that was the case but would be a best guess.

    Out of an abundance of caution we would suggest (here and anywhere!) if you are still using passwords from 2012-2015 then they should be changed, and as always would suggest using strong passwords.

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