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 asksif 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.
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 →
Some time ago the BBC announced that it would be supporting local journalism by paying “local democracy reporters” (LDRs) to cover councils, courts and public services. The resulting stories would be supplied to local and hyperlocal news organisations.
Last month at an event in Birmingham more details were unveiled — and they didn’t make promising reading for hyperlocal publishers, as one of my students, Jane Haynes, reported: Continue reading →
Every so often a journalism student sends me questions for an assignment. I publish the answers here in the FAQ series. The latest set comes from a student in Australia writing for Upstart magazine at La Trobe University, and focuses on the local press.
1. Is the reader not worth as much on the internet?
Readers have always been worth different amounts in different contexts. It’s not that the reader is ‘not worth as much on the internet’, but that most readers on most websites are worth less. Continue reading →
On August 17-18 the Centre for Investigative Journalism is organising some free training workshops for independent community based journalism outlets in Birmingham (and yes, I’ll be helping too).
Through investigative training; advice and guidance in journalistic practice; and support in building regional networks and sustainable business models we aim to revive local and community based reporting to address the democratic deficit left by a decades-long decline in budgets, staff and overall plurality across the UK local media industry.
The new programme hopes to help independent publishers improve their ability to gain access to information and investigate issues affecting their communities, and to share their findings in the public interest.
Some of the reasons behind the training include:
to encourage greater government and corporate accountability at a local level
to support democratic scrutiny
and to reinforce civil society from the ground up
Birmingham isn’t the only region this will be happening, but it will be the first. If you are interested in being involved, please contact us at email@example.com.
Due to the remit of this project CIJ are only able to provide training to journalists working with a specific community/regional focus on a part-time or voluntary basis. The project has been funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Civic engagement? Most readers spent more than 30 minutes on the liveblog
On Monday I was involved in a fascinating experiment in civic engagement: 10 hyperlocal blogs all agreed to embed a liveblog of a hustings which would give inhabitants of the largest local authority in Europe an insight into the next council leader.
The liveblog itself was to be maintained by student contributors to the Birmingham Eastside news site. The decision to offer it out to hyperlocal sites across the city seemed obvious – so why aren’t publishers doing this regularly? Continue reading →