Tag Archives: dan slee

Why a council is threatening journalists’ access — and what it says about local news

ban symbol by Vince

Ban symbol – photo by Vince

A council is warning it will reduce access to journalists if they aren’t regulated or don’t offer a right of reply. Andrew Brightwell asks if this marks a turning point for journalism’s relationship with local councils.

Two weeks ago, Thurrock Council approved its communications strategy, setting out how it will talk to residents and media.

Communications strategies are approved every day by councils without controversy, but Thurrock’s has provoked accusations that the authority wants to play ‘judge and jury’ to its coverage in the media, as YourThurrock first reported.

What does Thurrock Council’s strategy say?

Most of the document — which you can read here (PDF) — is innocuous, but a section on media liaison says it will only consider journalists’ organisations as ‘media’ if they are signed up to a press or broadcast regulator. Continue reading

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The first Birmingham Hacks/Hackers meetup – Monday Sept 20

Those helpful people at Hacks/Hackers have let me set up a Hacks/Hackers group for Birmingham. This is basically a group of people interested in the journalistic (and, by extension, the civic) possibilities of data. If you’re at all interested in this and think you might want to meet up in the Midlands sometime, please join up.

I’ve also organised the first Hacks/Hackers meetup for Birmingham on Monday September 20, in Coffee Lounge from 1pm into the evening.

Our speaker will be Caroline Beavon, an experienced journalist who caught the data bug on my MA in Online Journalism (and whose experiences I felt would be accessible to most). In addition, NHS Local’s Carl Plant will be talking briefly about health data and Walsall Council’s Dan Slee about council data.

All are welcome and no technical or journalistic knowledge is required. I’m hoping we can pair techies with non-techies for some ad hoc learning.

If you want to come RSVP at the link.

PS: There’s also a Hacks/Hackers in London, and one being planned for Manchester, I’m told.