Tag Archives: Bristol Evening Post

Pillorying the Post

Introducing Evening Post Watch – the blog all Bristol asked for!

As the explanatory blurb goes:

The Bristol Evening Post is the main daily newspaper for Bristol and the surrounding urban area. It has a daily paid-for circulation of 50,000.

The Post is owned by Northcliffe Media, which is in turn owned by DMGT owners of the hated racist right-wing Daily Mail. There are three other newspapers published in Bristol.

The Western Daily Press covers the wider South West with a focus on rural areas.

The Bristol Observer is a free weekly which has been whittled away to little more than an advertising sheet.

The Metro is the free daily which litters the streets of Bristol every morning. These papers are also owned by Northcliffe and DMGT.

We have a local listings/entertainment/news magazine of the Time Out type called Venue which was recently taken over* by Northcliffe.

Very few of the independent or alternative publications which have been launched here over the years have survived or reached a wide readership.

Bristol, like most cities today has a media dominated by corporations. The Post influences and shapes local opinion and debate and intervenes in political issues yet it answers only to the money-men.

The Post is an odd mixture of reactionary bile, pettiness, banality and the plain odd. It is, like most regional papers, mostly staffed by decent journos who are overworked, under-resourced and underpaid.

This blog is a modest attempt by ordinary Bristolians to take a critical look at some of the output of Bristol’s corporate monopoly press.

Contact: eveningpostwatch@gmail.com

Tis a near-Sisyphean task, so good luck to EPW in its attempts to tame the beast.

PS My favourite EP poster from my days selling newspapers is up on the front page too: “CLFTON CAT’S PLUNGE DRAMA – PICTURES” 8)

* Not really that recently ;)

Never fear, Super Coops is here!

The Bristol blogosphere’s favourite lackey of the Post is back at work!

Headline Of The Day: ENTER THE DRAGON FRUIT TO BRISTOL

Or, ‘Bristol first to sell dragon fruit’:

With fuchsia-pink skin and green scales, the dragon fruit is unlike anything else in its appearance.

And Bristol Fruit Sales, which is selling the fruit wholesale for the very first time, says it has proving a roaring success with customers.

When the exotic-looking fruit is cut in half it reveals an opaque white flesh dotted with small black seeds.

The unusual looking and pretty skin resembles a flower and is inedible. To eat the fruit, the slightly sweet flesh, which is low in calories, high in vitamin C and a good source of calcium, is scooped out.

David Foster, sales manager at Bristol Fruit Sales, at the Fruit Market in Albert Crescent, St Philip’s, said: “It’s been around since the 13th century and a product that has been grown and sold for many years now.

“Before we would get it in by request on special order and air-freight, taking about three or four days.

“We would sell 10 boxes containing 10 fruits a fortnight.

“Now we have done a deal with a Vietnamese co-operative and our first order of 1,260 boxes, containing 10 fruits each, sold within a day. It was really fantastic.

“They are a very versatile fruit. You can use them in salads, they make great sorbets, they are great served with other fruits – some people scoop them out and stuff the skins with a mix of fruit including the flesh. You can even ferment them to make alcohol, which isn’t as healthy, but tastes lovely.

“The world is changing the way we eat – celebrity chefs and cooking programmes use much more unusual ingredients. It’s a healthy, versatile and unusual fresh fruit and we are happy to be promoting that.

“We have sold them mainly to independents, so they will probably retail at about £1.29 each.”

Kate Odey, 50, from central Bristol, sampled the fruit and said: “It’s a bit like melon. It’s very refreshing.

“It’s got a bit too many pips for my liking. I could eat it but don’t know if I would go out and buy it.”

Native to Mexico and Central and South America, the dragon fruit is also cultivated in south-east Asian countries, such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

They are also found in Okinawa, Israel, northern Australia and southern China. Also known as the strawberry pear, pitaya or pitahaya, it is the fruit of several species of cactus. Other varieties come with a yellow skin or can have a red flesh with black seeds.

The flowers of the cactus are large and fragrant and only bloom at night.

Is Marc Cooper the new William Boot?

My Twitter has a new follower, one Marc ‘Coops’ Cooper*.

Coops appears to be a scoophound for local rag the Bristol Evening Post.

Coops has filed an astonishing seven stories on his Twitter in just under three months, including thrillers such as

Sorting out stories from paper to web, scratching my, not sure if i liked the new Indiana Jones film i saw last night

Hatching a plan to avoid sitting in traffic in my car twice a day. It really gets me down. How can I escape Bristol traffic hell???

and

I reckon life’s too short to worry, except when it comes to family. What to do?

He even manages to squeeze in four mentions for the Post (one slightly oblique)!

Coops is an anagram of Scoop. Need I say more?

* Amended 29/5/9 from @BristolCoops to @CoopsMarc

Another year, another Post exclusive…

Dove Lane development option C

Well, hello all and welcome to 2008 – fingers crossed it isn’t as unutterably shit as 07 was. However, looking over the Evening Post website, it seems local news journalism is as good as it’s ever been, judging by the paper’s story on the proposed Dove Lane development here in sunny St. Paul’s:

A futuristic four-storey primary school with a rooftop play area could be built in St Paul’s.

The city council would like to see a £10.5 million facility, including a children’s centre and a new family doctors’ surgery, open in less than three years.

It would help meet the demands on facilities being caused by the rapid increase in population in that part of Bristol’s inner city.

The new school would form part of the £300 million development of homes, shops and employment opportunities planned for the end of the M32 – which is known as onedovelane.

It’s not till the fifth paragraph that you get to anything approaching an actual current affairs angle, when the story mentions that there’s an upcoming council cabinet meeting to discuss the proposals. Well, actually the way it’s put is:

The city council’s cabinet will next week be urged to back the idea and authorise council officers to work with the consortium behind the Dove Lane scheme and with the Bristol Local Education Partnership to develop designs and firm up costs.

Oh yes, it’s that wonder of no-news news journalism, the vague passive! Who exactly will be urging the council to ‘back the idea’? Well, certainly ‘the consortium’ – the capitally-challenged onedovelane, which consists of Bristol-based developers PG Enterprises/PG Group and ‘regeneration group’ Places For People – is likely to be represented. But what about local people? Even the rather mild local community quango St. Paul’s Unlimited has expressed pretty scathing criticism of the way initial ‘public consultation’ was undertaken on behalf of the consortium, especially the loading of the options (reminsiscent of the Castle Park farrago):

St. Paul’s Unlimited sent a detailed reply to the consultation – in a nutshell we were unhappy with the consultation process. We felt the ‘options’ presented to us led people to option 3. For example, only option three offered us a market area, park and play area. Whereas option 1 only offered a combined park and play area.

We felt unhappy that the presentation of the options automatically led to option 3. We are already going to get as newly refurbished St. Paul’s Park anyway without the developers. This is about to happen and will include a new play area for the children. (The National Lottery money awarded to St. Paul’s will mean there is also a new play area in St. Agnes Park). There has been a plan for a long time to have an arts market in Portland Square – this is in the Neighbourhood Plan. So we would have the things the developers are offering anyway without the Dove Lane development happening. Similarly, there will be a new Children’s Centre in St. Paul’s with or without the developer.


SPUnC Partnership
chair Maryanne Kampf in the December/January edition of the St. Paul’s Newsletter (pdf of Dove Lane article, 1.3mb)

Maryanne also gets stuck into the imprecision with which onedovelane attempts to sell itself:

The real questions that need to be answered are not about play parks or green space – they are about:

How many flats, how much & what kind of employment? What kind of employment does the area need, the kind that a hotel would offer? Do we want workshops can develop or both? If you choose more green space this means the only way is up? Do you like the idea of a very high rise building and more green space?

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Basically, onedovelane claims that it expects to provide about a thousand jobs, 700 homes, twenty shops, a one hundred room hotel, public spaces and community facilities across all three options. The first option would leave 3% public space, with the tallest building at ten storeys; the second option gives 10% public space and a 14 storey building; and the favoured third option would give 30% public space, but at the cost of a building which would tower up to 40 storeys over St. Paul’s.

The initial proposals do not address exactly what sustainable employment would be developed (as opposed to, say, construction and allied jobs connected with the actual development of the site itself), nor do they address what the effect of 700 new homes in the already rather densely populated area might have on the existing job market. And the issue of what proportion of housing will be affordable is not covered at all either.

So, back to the point of the Post story – the new school. Well, again, this is an issue covered in the St. Paul’s Newsletter last year, and again it is an issue over which the SPUnC Partnership expressed polite scepticism:

It’s not often you get the chance to have a new school and we have that chance which is great. However, at the moment it seems we either have a multi-storey, multi-functional building with roof terraces on the Dove Lane site or we have nothing.

Indeed – shit sprinkled with sugar tastes sweeter, but it’s still shit.

As the Post has it, the “proposed new school would have a maximum 420 places, making it twice the size of the current Cabot primary.” So, these 700 new homes, what effect are they likely to have on the 200-odd ‘new’ primary places being made available? And how will this extra provision – plus the proposed extension to Sefton Park school, with its own extra 210 primary places – be paid for, not just in capital costs, but in running costs?

I’m sure the good burghers of the city shall deliberate most earnestly over these and other important questions, and not permit themselves to be blinded by big numbers and glossy PR fluff and empty rhetoric, but it is a little worrisome that even at this early stage such important questions are so blithely being ignored. Especially when the council’s Simon Caplan can be heard expounding such meaningless nonsense as this in the Post story (no doubt a BCC press release reprinted near-verbatim): “Current thinking is that the complex could be a four-storey building utilising the latest architectural solutions being successfully delivered in London and other leading European cities where multi-use complexes have been created on relatively small building sites.” So many words, oh so little substance… Extras marks for combining the use of the hyperoptimistic gerund (‘current thinking’) with the vague passive (‘could be’), the bovine crapive (‘London and other leading European cities’) and multiple pointless expansives (‘the latest architectural solutions’, ‘multi-use complexes’) though – well done, Si!

Bloody hell, I’m one to talk, proper rambling all the way through this, must apologise, been half-watching Robin Of Sherwood whilst typing.

Aaaanyway – an interesting topic and one to follow, I reckon.

Some earlier Dove Lane development-related articles from the Beeb:
Plan ‘could see £300m worth of investment’ (14 February 2007)
Tower could spearhead development (16 May 2007)
Inner city revamp plan launched (13 July 2007)

Welcome to Bristol: City of Culture 2008 ;)

Criterion: ‘Post’ murder analysis impedes investigation?

Evening Post ‘ANIMALS’ coverPolice investigating the murder in the Criterion early on Sunday morning are appealing for mobile phone camera footage to help identify Mohamoud Muse Hassan’s killer.

Mobile phone footage from people who were in the St Paul’s area during the early hours of Sunday morning (September 16) is being sought as part of a murder investigation.

Detectives investigating the murder of Mohamoud Muse Hassan are appealing for anyone who may have taken photographs or videos inside or outside the Criterion pub between midnight and 4am on Sunday. Anyone who has any other imagery that may be of use to the investigating team is also urged to come forward.

It is believed many people were taking pictures on their mobile phones throughout the Saturday evening and into Sunday which could help identify the person responsible for Mr Hassan’s death.

On Sunday police seized CCTV footage from the pub and surrounding area as part of their investigation.

Anyone who may have footage or any information that could assist the murder investigation is urged to contact Bristol CID on 0845 4567000.

(Avon & Somerset Constabulary press release, filed 11:43am)

Not sure that today’s Evening Post story (with its hysterical headline ‘ANIMALS’ – shades of the infamous ‘FACES OF EVIL’ front cover) is going to be helpful in encouraging potential witnesses to step forward. The article claims that:

A paramedic…was grabbed by her hair and pulled out of an ambulance by a mob when she tried to treat a dying man.

Sarah Hodierne and her colleague Wayne Evans were first on the scene after a 999 call to The Criterion pub in St Paul’s early on Sunday.

…Ms Hodierne was dragged from the ambulance – and as she tried to resuscitate him she and Mr Evans were surrounded by a crowd of up to 100 people who jostled, shouted and jeered them.

The BBC News website corroborates, but avoids the hyperbole of the Post.

A reader commenting on the incident, Alfredo Quantinas, questions the Post‘s version:

I was at the carnival on Saturday and was in the Prince of Wales pub [which is opposite the Criterion] when the incident happened, I saw the ambulance arrive and did not see anyone pull any paramedic out of the ambulance – this has been blown out of all proportion – if anything the ‘animals’ (your quote) were trying to direct the ambulance in as there was waiting traffic, there was a crowd of people around the dying man but the police had not cleared the area around the incident.

Meanwhile, of the two people arrested on suspicion of murder, the twenty-two year old man has been bailed, whilst the seventeen year-old girl remains in custody. (A&S [10:27am]; BBC [12:51pm])

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