Reporters are missing out on stories because they no longer have the time to trawl through parliamentary records, according to The Daily Telegraph’s outgoing political diarist, Jonathan Isaby.
Isaby – who is leaving the Telegraph to become co-editor of news blog ConservativeHome – said the ‘ultra-pressured environment’of a multimedia newsroom meant stories were often going undetected.
‘There is now such a daily grind of reacting to events and deadlines all the time – its an ultra-pressured environment,’he told Press Gazette.
‘People don’t have the time to look through Hansard [the official parliamentary record] and look at parliamentary questions and answers which so often are the source of so many stories.
‘If reporters spent a bit more time looking through Hansard, they’d be surprised by what they might happen across. It’s quite easy to miss things.”
Isaby is swapping a five-year stint at the Telegraph for the independent Tory news website, which is backed by Stephan Shakespeare, the founder of online polling site YouGov, and has built up a loyal following in political circles since its launch in 2005.
‘It’s already a website that I look at religiously every morning. If something’s going on, you know it’s going to be on there,’Isaby said.
‘It’s looked at by anyone who’s anyone in the Tory party, from David Cameron downwards, and by all the political journalists, because they know it has its finger on the pulse.
‘I’ve seen the blogosphere taking shape and becoming more influential and powerful. I suppose, in a sense, it’s a natural development for me to go and do this.”
ConservativeHome aims to aggregate everything that is written about the Conservative party in national and major regional papers, with additional breaking news and analysis of wider political issues with a Tory perspective.
The site’s editor and founder, Tim Montgomerie, said Isaby’s appointment coincided with a period of planned expansion.
It also comes less than a week after the site’s left-wing rival, LabourHome, was sold to New Statesman investor Mike Danson for a reported five-figure sum.
‘Jonathan and I will talk about how we wish to develop the site over the next year,’Montgomerie said.
‘You cannot afford to stand still in the blogosphere, and we have big plans for expansion in the autumn.”
Isaby currently edits the Three Line Whip column in the Telegraph and was previously a political analyst in the BBC‘s Westminster newsroom.
He replaces Sam Coates, the ConservativeHome deputy editor who left at the end of July to become a speechwriter for the Tory leader, David Cameron.