Tag Archives: Teesside Gazette

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

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JEEcamp – when the cottage news industry met mainstream media

What happens when you bring together local journalists, bloggers, web publishers, online journalism experts and new media startups – and get them talking?

That was the question that JEEcamp sought to answer: an ‘unconference’ around journalism enterprise and entrepreneurship that looked to tackle some of the big questions facing news in 2008: how do you make money from news when information is free? Where is the funding for news startups? How do you generate community? What models work for news online? Continue reading

Changing tools and approaches in local newspapers (UK)

A couple weeks ago Journalism.co.uk commissioned me to write a piece on ‘Changing tools and approaches in local newspapers’. But whereas their mental image was of the evangelical stuff I write on my blog; my mental image was of the more objective reporting they have on their site. We got there in the end – and I think the end result is better for it. But I didn’t want the original draft, with much more quotes from figures around the industry, to go to waste – so here it is. This post is part of this month’s Carnival of Journalism:

Local news is changing. Video, podcasts and blogging have been added to the scribbles of shorthand and the nib; searching YouTube and browsing the blogosphere have been added to photocalls and council meetings as part of the daily routine; and the segregations of print and online – and of writer and reader – are being broken down. Paul Bradshaw spoke to reporters, editors and publishers around the country on how their professions are changing. Continue reading