Thursday, 10 June 2010

In conversation with Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell, former director of communications and strategy to Tony Blair and now a writer, broadcaster and strategist, took time out from launching the first volume of his diaries to talk to me recently at his North London home.

He shared his thoughts on a range of issues – amongst them the changing media landscape, the role of social media in the recent election campaign, Twitter's ability to neutralise the impact of political advertising, the rise of the citizen journalist and his own social media habits as a creator and consumer of content.

In the introduction to the first volume of his diaries he writes:

“This volume…focuses a good deal on my and our dealings with the press and the broadcasters at a time when the media age was becoming a reality….My obsession was ensuring that the British people heard from us on our terms, and not on the terms of a media that was changing more quickly than any of us fully realised…”

The pace of change in the media, if anything, has accelerated since the period covered by the diaries (1994-1997) and it is interesting to get a sense of how one of the most accomplished communications strategists of our times views these changes and is adapting his own approach to reach and engage with a constantly connected audience.