Top Lib Dem media tarts: Sept-Nov 2007

by Stephen Tall on December 5, 2007

Which Lib Dem MPs received the most media mentions between 1st September 2007 and 30th November, 2007? To find out I trawled Lexis-Nexis’s online database of all UK national newspapers (and a huge number of regional ones), feeding in the names of each of our MPs in turn, and seeing how many returns were generated.

To qualify, the MP must have been mentioned either as a Liberal Democrat or Lib Dem. This will disadvantage those MPs who are working their regional media hard, but whose names do not appear under the party’s banners. Sorry, but them’s the rules.

Anyway, here’s the list in descending order of media mentions (with their 2006-07 positions in brackets):

1. (1) Ming Campbell – 1743
2. (3) Nick Clegg – 1291
3. (7) Chris Huhne – 1006
4. (5) Vince Cable – 780
5. (2) Charles Kennedy – 460
6. (12) David Laws – 247
7. (9) Simon Hughes – 203
8. (4) Lembit Öpik – 193
9. (6) Norman Lamb – 171
10. (25) Steve Webb – 160
11. (8) Norman Baker – 130
12. (19) Julia Goldsworthy – 128
13. (30) Susan Kramer – 123
14. (18) Ed Davey – 117
15. (23) Matthew Taylor – 116
16. (20) Danny Alexander – 114
17. (15) Evan Harris – 111
18. (14) Nick Harvey – 104
19. (21) John Hemming – 99
20. (13) Alistair Carmichael – 92
21. (11) Don Foster – 90
22. (26) Mark Oaten – 78
23. (34) David Heath – 63
24. (35) Greg Mulholland – 63
25. (22) Malcolm Bruce – 61
26. (29) Lorely Burt – 53
27. (38) Jo Swinson – 53
28. (43) Alan Beith – 53
29. (17) Adrian Sanders – 50
30. (27) Phil Willis – 50
31. (28) Dan Rogerson – 49
32. (32) Michael Moore – 49
33. (16) Andrew George – 48
34. (24) Richard Younger-Ross – 46
35. (31) Colin Breed – 44
36. (49) Mike Hancock – 44
37. (10) Sarah Teather – 41
38. (44) Mark Williams – 39
39. (47) Lynne Featherstone – 38
40. (48) Jeremy Browne – 38
41. (37) Sandra Gidley – 37
42. (61) Tim Farron – 33
43. (40) Martin Horwood – 30
44. (59) Paul Holmes – 29
45. (60) Paul Keetch – 27
46. (45) Roger Williams – 26
47. (33) Jenny Willott – 24
48. (50) John Thurso – 24
49. (46) Bob Russell – 22
50. (51) Alan Reid – 19
51. (36) Stephen Williams – 17
52. (39) Robert Smith – 17
53. (41) John Barrett – 16
54. (53) John Pugh – 16
55. (62) David Howarth – 16
56. (52) Willie Rennie – 15
57. (58) Annette Brooke – 14
58. (57) Paul Rowen – 13
59. (56) Tom Brake – 11
60. (42) Andrew Stunell – 8
61. (55) Paul Burstow – 7
62. (63) Mark Hunter – 6
63. (54) John Leech – 2

The list naturally comes with a heavy health warning – as I note whenever I produce these rankings, media mentions can be both positive and negative… as the MP who appears at No. 1 might wryly observe.

Nonetheless, as a party which often struggles to have its voice heard outside election time – when the broadcast media is forced by law actually to do its job, and report impartially – it’s clearly crucial that all our MPs do their utmost to ensure they and the party are as prominent as possible.

The party leadership has rather dominated coverage of the Lib Dems in the last three months, inevitably boosting the profiles of both leadership candidates, as well as our acting leader (and his two predecessors). So, among the shadow cabinet, I’m going to single out for congratulations David Laws, who has jumped up the ‘media tarts’ table to sixth place, and has proved an extremely effective headline-grabber in his high-profile role as Lib Dem shadow secretary of state for children, schools and families.

It’s also only fair to note that Lib Dem shadow cabinet members are, generally, going to find it easier to get into the press than our backbenchers. So particular congratulations are due to Matthew Taylor, Evan Harris, and John Hemming for their high placings. (Charles Kennedy is a bit of a special case.)

* Editor’s note: This is the third such list I’ve compiled: the first was back in March on my own blog, and the second was published here on LDV back in September.

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No comments

Your survey is flawed. There is no way in the world that Matthew Taylor – wonderful MP though he is – got 116 national/local media hits. I suspect you’ve failed to exclude either the Guardian journo/ex-downing street aide/or Portsmouth FC player of the same name. Same applies to Simon Hughes (also a Sun journo). Goldsworthy, Davey and Webb coverage is weighted by their inclusion in the betting odds lists for the leadership race.

by Resentful Lib Dem media tart on December 5, 2007 at 11:30 am. Reply #

There’s no reason why being mentioned re the leadership is a flaw in the survey – Stephen doesnt make any other qualitative judgements about the ‘mentions’. In fact their being mentioned in connection with the leadership probably reflects the fact that they had managed to establish a media profile.

Including a Portsmouth footballer is a bit more problematic, I grant you…

I was wondering – could we introduce some form of performance related pay? The more media hits you get the more you are rewarded. Except for Lembit of course – we’d have to do that in reverse, the less he got mentioned the more he got rewarded.

🙂

by Ed on December 5, 2007 at 1:00 pm. Reply #

1 – it’s possible for other Matthew Taylors to be included in the coverage; but only if the article also includes the phrase ‘liberal democrat’ or ‘lib dem’. Maybe the case for an ex-Guardian think-tank wonk; less likely for a Pompey footballer 🙂

It’s likely Matthew Taylor’s coverage this time was boosted by his appointment by Gordon Brown to head the inquiry into affordable rural housing issues.

Of course it’s true that the leadership election has ‘spiked’ this quarter’s sample in some cases. Fair enough, I think – after all, there are reasons they’ll have been mentioned as potential leadership candidates, part of which will be their overall media profile.

by Stephen Tall on December 5, 2007 at 1:14 pm. Reply #

Ed – a) I agree that Stephen doesn’t apply any qualitive assesment of the coverage but I still don’t think his suvey is a fair representation. Look at the reported coverage for our Manc MP’s pos 60-64. I suspect Lexus Nexis doesn’t cover the Manchester Evening News as I’ve just run the same dates on Factiva and Leech has loads of coverage over the same period.

b) Does being listed as Goldsworthy 14/1, Krammer 28/1 etc really constitute a media hit?

Stephen
“it’s possible for other Matthew Taylors to be included in the coverage; but only if the article also includes the phrase ‘liberal democrat’ or ‘lib dem”’

Or if you include Matthew Taylor the Guardian journo who would be included every time one of his articles mentions a Lib Dem.

by Resentful Lib Dem media tart on December 5, 2007 at 4:36 pm. Reply #

4 – fair enough, I’ve checked, and The Guardian’s Matthew Taylor does account for seven of the Lib Dem Matthew Taylor’s mentions. This would relegate the Lib Dems’ Matthew Taylor two places to 18th. Which is still pretty good.

Lexis Nexis does cover the Manchester Evening News. John Leech’s two returns are from the MEN in fact. Perhaps on other occasions he’s not listed as a Lib Dem or Liberal Democrat, but simply as the local MP? Otherwise I don’t know, I’m afraid, why Lexis-Nexis discriminates against him. Perhaps it’s run by Chris Paul 🙂

by Stephen Tall on December 5, 2007 at 4:54 pm. Reply #

I work in the media evaluation industry, so counting mentions which particular spokespeople for an organisation receive in the press is my daily work. There are other ways to measure the impact they’re having (how prominent is the story within the publication, how prominent is the spokesperson within the article, whether it’s negative positive or neutral, whether it’s the type of publication lots of people will read or only a few). Without these other factors in mind, it’s a pretty crude measurement. And there are many local weekly papers that Nexis doesn’t cover. Nonetheless, this is interesting and thanks for putting it up.

by Derek Young on December 5, 2007 at 9:27 pm. Reply #

there’s somethign wrong with this. Alan Raid doesnt have a 0 rating. does anyone even know who he is?

by Anonymous on December 6, 2007 at 2:21 pm. Reply #

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