THE CANVEY BEAT STORY is about to reach its conclusion. On May 7th, we will know if a small local blog can take on the combined might of the local press, so-called ‘independent’ councillors and the local MP to reveal the latter’s fabrications and lies designed to retain his safe parliamentary seat and its associated expenses.
Can a small local blog, with just two to three-hundred readers per day, claim any influence over the opinions of 40,000 local residents whom unanimously voted for Spink and his Canvey Island Independent Party at the last elections?
Will the Truth out? Or will it be buried beneath the pages of the Yellow Advertiser and the local Echo that each carry the MP’s propaganda?
The experiment is coming rapidly to an end and I find myself asking: ‘If it takes a story about a corrupt MP to achieve some 6,000 readers a month, what on earth does it take to achieve a commercially viable 60,000?’
The answer is not additional coverage. When I began, 49% of readers requested that I cover local politics – so, even if I covered everything, the blog is unlikely to reach any more than 12,000 a month. Just one-fifth of what is needed to offer commercial advertising.
The fact is that the Canvey Beat will never be commercially viable. Once the elections have taken place (and Spink has hopefully been deposed) there will be little of interest to write about. Just boring council meetings conducted by competent councillors. The real political news will rest in parliament as it comes to grips with Labour’s legacy.
When I began the Canvey Beat there was virtually no coverage of Canvey Island in the local press – and neither Borough Council or Town Council meetings were regularly covered. But that is no longer the case. If nothing else the Canvey Beat has shown the local press that there is still a viable market, for them, to cover such meetings.
So the Canvey Beat is winding down. It will no longer carry unbiased pieces drawn from the best of the national newspapers in the hope that residents might buy a copy. And it will no longer cover the ‘hard work’ of our local MP.
It will either stand as a monument to this particular journalist’s foolishness – or as a testament to the fact that a lone blogger really can make a difference in the face of overwhelming odds.
May 7th will reveal which is to be the case…
… (Canvey Beat, 07/05/2010) – Bye, Bye, Bob – Hello, Rebecca