Tag Archives: Hyperlocal

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

Hyperlocal publishers: BBC inviting feedback on local reporter and data hub plans

Map of BBC local democracy reporters

Image: BBC

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

41 key moments in the history of online journalism {now 45} – have I missed any?

July 7 bombings image

A key moment in recent journalism history: Adam Stacey’s image taken during the July 7 bombings

In the history chapter of the Online Journalism Handbook you will find a timeline of key events in web journalism. While working on the forthcoming second edition I recently revisited and updated the timeline. Below are the 41 key events I have settled on — but have I missed any? Let me know what you think. Continue reading

FAQ: Cheap readers and the future of local news

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

Free investigation training for independent journalists and publishers

CIJ logo

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).

They write:

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 tom@tcij.org.

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

A simple hyperlocal experiment which shows how publishers can engage with different audiences

liveblog engagement

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

Do hyperlocal and student websites fall foul of the new press regulator and libel laws?

leveson regulation guidance

The DCMS pubished this image to clarify the definition of “a relevant published” under proposals published in early 2013.

Nick Booth left a Press Recognition Panel consultation under the impression that non profit hyperlocals were going to be exposed by the new regulation system. Then legal experts suggested he’d got it wrong. So which is it? In a special post cross-published from Podnosh, Nick tries to tease out a complex law and ask: ‘when someone sues now, who pays?’.

Last week I spent a couple of hours at a consultation in Birmingham run by the Press Recognition Panel, which is the regulator set up to oversee the creation of (a?) new press regulator(s) following the Leveson Inquiry and the Royal Charter. (I know this has already got a bit “what?”, but stick with me.)

I was there because I’m interested in what it means for hyperlocal websites (which we have helped people set up over a number of years). Especially the implications for those run for the love of their community,  sites like B31voices or WV11 –  not run for the money. Talk About Local has already questioned whether hyperlocals fall within Leveson and I wanted to be clear one way or the other…

So this is how my thinking has evolved…. if you find an asterix next to an assertion I’m not 100% sure this is right. Continue reading