Tag Archives: local newspapers

Letter to Govt. pt1: “The impact of newspaper closures on independent local journalism and access to local information”

The following is the first in a series of responses to the government inquiry into the future of local and regional media. We will be submitting the whole – along with blog comments – to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. This post, by Alex Lockwood, looks at the first:

“The impact of newspaper closures on independent local journalism and access to local information”

The final views of the committee will depend on how much the inquiry sees local newspapers responsible for local journalism – a little, a lot, or completely.

Writing in the Observer on Sunday, Henry Porter pretty much called them the same thing. For many who work there, the death of newspapers is disastrous for access to local information, not least due to the historical positions those papers have held.

The closures of the Glasgow East News and Ayrshire Extra, the Black Country Mail Extra, Wolverhampton AdNews, Daventry Post and Ashby Herald, the Lincoln Chronicle, the Northallerton, Thirsk and Bedale Times, and dozens of others that have either closed or felt the swingeing impact of mergers and office cuts, are devastating for their communities. These papers have been the homes for ‘hard’ journalism – reporting of the essential court and council stories that really matter to local lives.

Los Angeles Times reporter, Joe Matthews, quoted widely on this, has made clear the dire implications for democracy of the loss of quality journalism. Matthews wrote: “Much of the carnage of the ongoing media industry can’t be measured or seen: corruption undiscovered, events not witnessed, tips about problems that never reach anyone’s ears because those ears have left the newsroom.”

Those trained ears may have left the newsroom – but are they the only ears open to the whispers of local corruption? Continue reading

Try it, refine it – or throw it away

Try new stuff! If it doesn’t work, just stop doing it. Then move on and try something else.

That’s what Mackenzie Warren, director of content at Gannett Digital (that’s the digital division of what’s currently the USA’s largest media company), advised a group of Norwegian media executives at the Norwegian Institute of Journalism this week.

Now, let me first point out that Mackenzie Warren has been a journalist since the age of 14. He’s been a photographer, reporter, online editor, managing editor… just about anything you can be in a newsroom. Except that at Gannett, and at Fort Myers News-Press, where he worked before heading up the digital content section at Gannett, they no longer call it a newsroom.

“We’ve done away with the word “newsroom”. There’s no news in a newsroom (desk reporters are often the last to hear of a story). Plus, it’s not news we do – it’s aquiring, processing and distributing information”, he said.

Now, the Gannett publications have more of a control centre where section editors (sports, news etc., not print, online or TV) monitor the competition and also what the readers and viewers are responding to at any time. Continue reading

Wiki journalism comes to the UK

http://www.wiki-north-east.co.uk/
 
Trinity Mirror have launched a ‘wiki for the North East’ as a result of an internal contest to bring out innovative ideas. Web developer Louise Midgley, from North-East division ncjmedia, received a cash prize and will receive future share of any profits from her idea: wikinortheast.co.uk “an online archive covering all aspects of the North-East region”. Continue reading

News and the maturation of the comic form

Following the Liverpool Post’s imaginative use of comics in its coverage of the 50-foot, 37-tonne mechanical spider La Princess, Toronto’s Globe and Mail has this great graphic explanation of the financial crisis:

Financial crisis cartoon (Toronto’s The Globe and Mail)

Financial crisis cartoon (Toronto’s The Globe and Mail)

Here’s the Post’s graphic novel insert cover if you’re interested…

Liverpool Daily Post - Spider comic

Liverpool Daily Post - Spider comic

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Mashups at the Liverpool Post: Yahoo Pipes for fashionistas

It’s nice when you host some training and something of use comes out of it. Alison Gow, who recently attended my Social Media for Breaking News training, has used it to build a Yahoo Pipe. It “filters all the latest news, photos and quality blog posts from the world of Fashion for the Girls Behaving Stylishly team to place on their blog as a widget, and to help them spot trends quickly without having to trawl the web.”

Her post is worth reading if you’re interested in doing it yourself, littered as it is with useful red arrow-laden screengrabs.

MNA joins the rush to mobile news sites

The Midlands News Association is the latest publisher to embrace the mobile web with mobile-friendly sites for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. The sites were built by the Midland News Association’s online arm MNA Digital with mobile technology partner Wapple, based in Bromsgrove. Particularly impressive is how easy it is for users to make comments – normally one of the most difficult acts when viewing on a mobile.

The move comes barely a week after The Telegraph also (re)launched its mobile version, while Trinity Mirror has announced its plans to take 14 of its newspapers mobile in the next few months.

Mobile Computer has a good overview of the various national mobile services,

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Which mobile internet services do Flemish newspapers offer?

Dorien Aerts takes a look at Flemish newspapers’ mobile efforts.

What kind of mobile internet services do newspapers in Flanders offer? Since the launch of the iPhone in Belgium a few weeks ago, the mobile internet has become a hot topic. It has ‘a face’ since then, and more and more people want to try it out. Here’s what’s being done…

  • De Standaard (publisher: Corelio)

One of Belgium’s quality papers, De Standaard has offered a mobile website to its readers since the 16th of June via m.standaard.be.

The service contains all kinds of news, from sports and politics to celebrity updates. Apart from that, the mobile website offers the weather forecast and up to date traffic information. Continue reading

Trinity Mirror nationals’ digital revenue up 100%, regionals up 30%

PaidContent has a summary of Trinity’s half-year reports with some silver lining accompanying the now familiar announcements of increasingly declining print ad revenue:

Digital revenue is up a whopping 100.6 percent during the period to £2.8 million (UK titles up 145.4 percent, Scottish up 34.8 percent).” Continue reading