Friday, August 07, 2009

Air Quality: assistance required

Just as a little experiment I thought I'd see what happened if I put a call out for assistance on an article I'm writing.

I'm putting together an article on air quality and pollution in the urban environment. The focus will be on modern cities but I have space to talk about a little history or pop in an aside or two if they meet the elucidation criteria. Or is that criterion?

If you have links or thoughts that you think might be useful drop me a line in the comments box. Examples of campaigning, legislation or planning issues more than welcome, as are statistics or related info - particularly if they have a precis so I don't have to crunch more numbers than I have to.

I'll be interested to see how useful this method is as an experiment. I tend to think of the readers here as an educated and thoughtful bunch so my hopes are high - don't dash them people, please, don't dash them.


Kaihsu Tai said...

Strategist said...

Sorry, no time to research links for you, Jim, but I think the story of some of the bullshit put out by the roadfreight industry to try to head off the introduction by Ken Livingstone of the London Low Emission Zone would be worth mentioning.

Like the congestion charge before it (and the minimum wage), the end of the world was confidently predicted by the lobbyists but didn't come to pass.

The scheme has been in a while now and I would be interested to know whether any studies have been completed yet on whether there has been any effect on pollution levels in London.

Strategist said...

Great to open my M. Star on the tube this morning and find your air quality piece, and to think I had made my own small contribution to it!

I am allowed to make an input of supportive & constructive criticism?

Jim Jay said...

yes, thanks to everyone who sent me links or thoughts. Not everything became realised in the article, but literally everything that I was sent helped me get my head round the issues.

Strategist - please do make an input, most welcome.

Strategist said...

Thanks. Well I think your main contribution to the revamped Morning Star is to provide features which are a little bit different in subject matter from what you normally get in the M Star (which have in the past tended to get a bit samey after a few weeks/months/years). The reader thinks, "it's Jim Jepps, what's it going to be about - I can't guess in advance" (African broadband being a good example)

So well done on that.

My constructive criticism of the air quality piece would be to suggest that it may have come across as urgently relevant rather than just generally relevant had it sprung from a snippet of hot recent news, just to give it that bit of up-to-the-minute relevance we might say distinguishes a daily paper of the left from (say) a monthly or quarterly left magazine.

So for example, if your piece had started with something like "Few noticed the new Government regulations on air quality that were rushed out before the parliamentary recess two weeks ago, but they highlight the government's weak record on grasping the nettle on air quality issues, despite promises to the contrary blah blah blah", this would have put the icing on the cake.

My second comment maybe against M Star editorial policy, but it would be nice if all your pieces could end with: this is where you can go for more info on the issue and find out about the key campaigning issues (in whatever subject it might be).

Jim Jay said...

That's useful - thanks.

Yes, I think the reason they like me is I write about subjects they don't normally cover.

They encourage me to know what I'm going to write about a week in advance and it does slightly push me towards being less 'on the news' I prefer to decide a couple of days before really...

I'll see if I can slip something in next week about where to go for campaign resources... or what ever. It kind of depends what I end up writing about really.