Tag Archives: talk about local

Someone asked me about 2016 and 2017. This is what I said

Crystal ball image by Christian R. Hamacher

Crystal ball image by Christian R. Hamacher

Every year Nic Newman asks a bunch of people for their reflections on the last 12 months and their anticipations for the year ahead. Here’s what I’ve said this year — as always, to be taken with significant doses of salt. 

What surprised you most in 2016?

Perhaps the sheer number of significant developments (compare the posts for 2015 and 2014). It was the year when bots went mainstream very quickly, and platforms took further significant steps towards becoming regulated as publishers.

It was a year of renewed innovation in audio. 2016 saw the launch of a number of new audio apps, including Anchor, Pundit, Clyp and Bumpers.fm, as various companies attempted to be the ‘Facebook of audio’. The only problem: Facebook wants to be the Facebook of audio too: at the end of the year they introduced live audio. Continue reading

I’m organising a data journalism conference – you should come

Data Journalism UK 2016In just over 4 weeks I’ll be holding a day of workshops and industry panels for aspiring and working data journalists across the UK. Want to come?

Data Journalism UK 2016, in Birmingham on November 22, will be focusing on the latest wave of regional data journalism projects, from the data journalists at Trinity Mirror and BBC Scotland to startups like Northern Ireland’s The Detail and winners of Google Digital News Initiative funding Talk About Local’s News Engine and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

I’m particularly pleased to have one of the most experienced data journalists in the country, Claire Miller, speaking too.

claire-miller

Claire Miller, author of the book Getting Started with Data Journalism

The event will mix industry speakers and experts with practical sessions: there’ll be drop-in sessions on getting started with data journalism, an information security ‘surgery’, and some speakers have been asked to focus on practical skills too.

On top of all that, attendees will have the opportunity to nominate skills they want to learn – we’ll put on workshops for the most popular topics!

You can sign up for the event here, and tell me what sessions you want covered on Twitter @paulbradshaw

The event is being jointly sponsored by the University of Stirling and Birmingham City University.

Guest post: hyperlocal Groundhog Day – why policy makers need to support UK hyperlocal media (and how)

Weather prognosticating groundhog Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania

Groundhog image by Alessandro M

In a guest post for OJB, Damian Radcliffe argues that the need for policy makers to support hyperlocal publishers is stronger than ever – and explains just how that support can happen.

When I first started reporting on hyperlocal media in 2009 it was against a daily backdrop predicting the death of newspapers and clarion calls for public intervention to save this vital resource.

Since then, this hysteria has died down, although it’s clear that many of the structural challenges being faced by the local media sector have not gone away.

In January Press Gazette reported that there had been a net reduction of 181 UK local newspapers since 2005, including a further 11 lost this year, whilst a leaked memo from Trinity Mirror shed light on the commercial pressures many newspapers groups face and how this is influencing reporting on the ground.

Despite this, the UK’s industrious hyperlocal media sector continues to beaver away. Continue reading

Hyperlocal Voices Revisited: Ray Duffill, Hedon Blog

Ray Duffill originally took part in our Hyperlocal Voices series in November 2010. Still going strong three years later, Damian Radcliffe took the opportunity to see what’s changed during that time in this particular patch of East Yorkshire. (Photo credit: Neil Holmes via Flickr)

1. What’s been the biggest change to the site in the last 3 years?

The Hedon Blog has had an annual facelift and theme change each year of its existence, but the last theme change concentrated on highlighting news content (with more photos and visual impact), rather than being just about listing links to useful information. Continue reading

Hyperlocal voices interviewed elsewhere

While I’ve been blogging my series of interviews with hyperlocal bloggers I’ve come across a few more elsewhere that may be of interest – and thought it worth linking to them here.

Talk About Local is running a ‘Ten Questions’ series of interviews along the same lines.

Nick Booth of Podnosh (which I work for) is writing a blog about hyperlocal bloggers on the BBC website. He has also  interviewed Steph Jennings and James Clark of WV11 – audio embedded below:

[audio:http://audioboo.fm/boos/194465-steph-jennings-and-james-clark-of-wv11.mp3%5D

I recently had Ventnor Blog founder Simon Perry talk to students on the MA in Online Journalism that I teach at Birmingham City University. Samuel Negredo filmed part of his visit, which can be seen on his blog post about the visit and is also embedded below:

Also interviewed elsewhere – by Philip John – is Brownhills Bob.

Lara O’Reilly interviews Dave Lee about Olympic Borough.

And in the US, Bob Yoder of the Redmond Neighborhood Blog is interviewed by Outside.in, which also gets some tips from Elllie Ashford in Annandale.

Hyperlocal Voices: Hedon Blog (Ray Duffill)

Hyperlocal voices: Hedon Blog

The Hedon Blog covers communities in Hedon, East Yorkshire. Established by Ray Duffill at the beginning of last year, he has since gone on to launch the HU12 site as well. This post is part on the ongoing Hyperlocal Voices series.

Who were the people behind the blog, and what were their backgrounds?

I set the Hedon Blog up after being made redundant from a career in Community Development.

What made you decide to set up the blog?

The Hedon Blog was set up as a hobby to keep my ‘hand-in’ with new social media tools I’d discovered on the web whilst working in my previous job as a Community Development Manager in Blackpool.

Specifically, I wanted to find out if Hedon had any community and voluntary groups operating in the area. On the surface it seemed that very little community activity was going on in the town. That was my initial impression and a view shared by neighbours and relatives who had lived in the area much longer.

The process of setting up the blog and nurturing its development has enabled me to re-discover my home town. Hedon is no longer just the place I live – it’s a place I’m proud of and love!

When did you set up the blog and how did you go about it?

I set up the blog on WordPress.com. It took me two minutes to set up and think of the highly original “Hedon Blog” title.

The first post was written in February 2009. I pressed ‘publish’ and thought “What next?”. I had no plan and no real objectives or goals to aim towards. This is not a model to follow!

Using my legs, eyes and ears I explored and unearthed the ‘undiscovered country’ of a small but thriving community infrastructure in the town. I reported back on my findings on the blog. And, as the ‘word-of-mouth’ spread, then people began sending me in notices of community events and other activities in the town.

What other blogs, bloggers or websites influenced you?

Whilst working in Blackpool I had found about Nick Booth‘s (Podnosh) ‘Social Media Surgeries‘ taking place in Birmingham. Inspired by those, I made an early commitment that I would only use social-media tools that were free, easy to use and share, and that could be easily taught to others.

The internet should be about liberating community news and information. I abide by these ideas with the Hedon Blog. Any community can do what I do – you don’t need shed-loads of dosh in order to obtain an effective online voice. Having financial backing and a friendly geek obviously helps – but they are not essential.

The next major influence was Talk About Local and its first ‘un-conference’ in Stoke. From being an isolated individual I was suddenly part of a major phenomenon that involved people from across the country and the world. We even had a name for what we were doing – hyperlocal!

Adam Westbrook has been the other major influence on the blog’s development. I heard him speak and was inspired by his views on the future of journalism.

Locally, in Hull, digital developer Jon Moss has helped through setting up Hull Digital. Individuals met through this network have offered me enormous encouragement and support.

How did – and do – you see yourself in relation to a traditional news operation?

I obtained Adam Westbrook’s e-book on Newsgathering for Hyperlocal Websites and now run the site as a news gathering operation.

Learning from some of the journalistic methods described in that publication has enabled me to put the blog on a professional footing and achieve a credibility in the eyes of public and private sector organisations (as well as voluntary and community groups) who now regularly supply me with press releases and other material.

In this sense I have ‘borrowed’ from the traditional media those things that can help me promote, inform and help build communities in my town.

What have been the key moments in the blog’s development editorially?

The Hedon Blog now sits as part of a wider website family under the www.hu12.net banner. This means I can concentrate community news via the Hedon Blog but now have an outlet for more contentious and controversial material – and a means to obtain some advertising income.

What sort of traffic do you get and how has that changed over time?

I have grown a local audience largely by word of mouth. In my fist month of operation I got 213 visits (WordPress stats) but get those figures and more every day now with occasional daily spikes of over 500 – 800 visits.

I never approached this from a business or journalist point of view – but rather as a civic duty or community activity. The downside of this approach is the obvious: a lack of income to re-invest in the project and to pay for its main motivating force: Me!

This activity has brought me great pleasure but has been draining on time and personal resources.

Time to talk about legal

As a lone blogger how much legal protection do you have? No more than anyone else, when it comes to libel, contempt of court law and so on, except that people are more likely to pay attention to large media organisations.

But there are many instances where bloggers have lost a lot of time and money over legal disputes. Last week, for example, journalist and blogger Dave Osler finally saw an end to a legal battle that consumed three years of his life, after he was sued for libel by the political activist Johanna Kaschke. Despite being refused the right to appeal the strike-out of the Osler case, she is still planning to appeal another High Court decision that ended her libel claim against Alex Hilton and John Gray.

If all individual bloggers worried about getting into trouble too much, we’d write much less than we do. Even big scary cases aren’t a deterrent: Dave Osler is still blogging. I was personally surprised by the results of my survey of 71 small online publishers this summer. Not that only 27 per cent had been involved in legal disputes (that was about what I expected) but that over half were satisfied with the number of legal resources available.

Personally, the grey areas of law trouble me and I don’t think there could be enough support: I’d like to see more organised structures for legal help, a sort of Citizens Advice Bureau for bloggers, if you like. Informal advice is already spreading via social networks, as lawyers increasingly use Twitter and blogs to join the conversation.

As I reported on my site Meeja Law, one hyperlocal blogger who was accused of breach of copyright asked for legal advice via Twitter: “Two separate media lawyers confirmed (for free) that I’d done nothing wrong. I also contacted [hyperlocal organisation] Talk About Local for advice, and they told me the same.”

Talk About Local has published several media law guides online (eg. this one on defamation) and the organisation’s founder William Perrin offers some frank legal advice ahead of a legal session at last weekend’s London Local Neighbourhoods Online Unconference:

…just about the best legal advice, which very few follow is to set up a 
limited company and keep the website inside that. Then you don’t lose 
your house to a nutter under defamation law….

Another concern of mine is the lack of transparency of courts data, something I’ve discussed at length here. I think bloggers should be able to access more information about cases; at the very least, the Ministry of Justice needs to consider its outmoded contempt of court law that is ill-equipped to deal with the online age.

In the coming months, I’d like to build up the conversation in this area and think about how we might approach some of these issues. If you’d like to be part of this informal online ‘working group’ please consider joining the Help Me Investigate challenge at this link (request membership here), or discussing via the OJB Facebook group.

UPDATE [Paul Bradshaw]: I’ve created a LinkedIn group as a place for people to more openly discuss how to take this forward.

Judith Townend (@jtownend on Twitter) is a PhD research student at City University London and freelance journalist.