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October 15 2010

10:48

Johnston Press chief: BBC should be limited to three stories per city per day

A curious strategy by Johnston Press’ chief executive John Fry, who has reportedly written to the BBC Trust asking the body to limit the number of news stories the BBC’s website publishes online to three per city or region.

The BBC’s coverage could thwart JP’s plans to launch more paid-for digital services. No mention of its failed paywall pilots though…

Full story on Telegraph.co.uk at this link…Similar Posts:



October 14 2010

11:20

Greater Manchester Police tweeting a day’s crime

Greater Manchester Police is using Twitter to update followers on all the incidents reported to them within a 24-hour period. Speaking to the BBC today, GMP chief constable Peter Fahy said the experiment, which is being conducted on a series of accounts including @gmp24_4, was in part a response to the media’s coverage of police work.

“The media doesn’t understand the nature of day-to-day policing,” he told a BBC News report.

Speaking on Radio 4, Fahy also talked about local media:

[W]e find it more difficult to get out information particularly with the decline in local newspapers, so it’s very much about public information. But it’s also to give a better picture to the public of the reality of police work. Crime is obviously an important part of what we do, but it’s only one part and so we’re trying to show the variety of police work but also the way that so many of our incidents are realted to wider social problems.

Similar Posts:



October 05 2010

11:42

Local TV operators criticise new service YouView in letter to Times

Plans for YouView, a new TV service offering on-demand and internet-connected features from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, have been criticised by local TV operators and production firms.

Geraldine Allinson, chairwoman of KM Group and Helen Philpot, managing director of north Lincolnshire TV channel Channel 7 CIC, were amongst the signatories of a letter to the Times late last week that said YouView had been “parachuted” into the “new and exciting market” of internet-connected television sets.

The full list of signatories:

  • Peter Williams, Peter Williams Television;
  • Jim Deans Global Digital Broadcast/Devlin Media;
  • Graham Cowling, TVChichester;
  • Rodney Hearth, the UK Entertainment Channel;
  • Geoff Kershaw, Channel Green TV;
  • Alan Cummings, Channel 9 TV/UC Business;
  • Marilyn Hyndman, Northern Visions / NvTv;
  • Dave Rushton, Institute of Local Television;
  • Daniel Cass, SIX TV;

Jaqui Devereux, United for Local Television.

The objections from the group echo those made against the BBC’s proposals to expand its local video content, which were rejected by the BBC Trust in November 2008.

The letter says that YouView could “hijack the fledgling local TV market” and calls for a thorough competition investigation of the platform:

Collectively these organisations control nearly three quarters of all television viewing and the entire digital terrestrial TV transmission network.

The BBC and its partners claim that YouView offers a common set of technical standards that will help everyone get the best out of this exciting new world. But it can equally be interpreted as an attempt by some of the biggest players in the business to hijack this fledgling market, impose their own vision of how it will operate and dictate the viewers’ experience.

The joint venture partners will control all aspects of the platform and its operational policies. If any third parties wish to participate, they will have to do so on the terms dictated to them by the UK’s largest free-to-air broadcasters.

Full letter at this link (subscription required)…

paidContent:UK takes a look at why local TV providers should work with YouView…Similar Posts:



October 01 2010

10:51

Headlines and Deadlines: My first death knock

Liverpool Daily Post and Echo digital journalist Alison Gow recalls one of her first “death knocks”:

I saw the boat, and it stopped being a lark. The Double R was a corpse – a beached wreck with her paintwork sandblasted away and holes punched in her keel. She lay, tilted to the side, with the cabin smashed in. That was when I truly understood I was reporting on the aftermath of a tragedy. Someone I vaguely knew had gone out, buttoning his coat against the storm, to secure his boat and means of employment, and he had died an unimaginable death.

Full post on Headlines and Deadlines at this link…Similar Posts:



September 30 2010

10:05

The Independent: Regional press challenging bad forecasts

The Independent has an interesting article by Ian Burrell this morning comparing the current situation for local media – in terms of production levels, revenues and staff – with previous predictions.

The overall picture it paints is that the regional press, despite facing predictions that half of the industry would be closed down by 2013, is proving forecasters wrong.

A year or so later, the picture is somewhat different. Whereas 60 local newspapers did close during 2009, only eight have gone to the wall in 2010. The UK’s local press isn’t quite ready to draft its own obituary.

Early on Burrell discusses the impact of the American press situation on encouraging the bleak outlooks for British media, but adds that action taken by the press such as the increasing use of hyperlocal sites has helped it survive.

The earlier predictions of Armageddon were influenced by events in America, where the regional press has suffered badly. The closure in February last year of the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News in Denver caused great alarm, as did the demise the following month of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which moved to online-only production after 146 years in print. The company that owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times filed for bankruptcy. But the New York Times reported recently that hedge fund “vulture” investors are circling newspaper businesses in anticipation that the worst days are over.

But the article also raises the question of how you should measure the pulse of the local newspaper industry. Therefore as well as looking at the number of titles (and money) still being made, Burrell asks what the wider impact on the journalists within these newsrooms is?

Barry Fitzpatrick, head of publishing at the National Union of Journalists, says not. “Most of our journalists are working multi-platform and they are working long hours to deadlines that are increasingly difficult to meet. I’m fearful of what the long term effect will be on journalism itself and on the health of a lot of people that are trying to earn a living as journalists.”

See the full article here…Similar Posts:



September 20 2010

13:42

Eastern Daily Press providing content through Foursquare

Thanks to Stephen Keable from the Eastern Daily Press for alerting us to the title’s use of Foursquare after we reported on Metro’s deal with the location-based service.

The EDP already has a Foursquare presence. When users of the service check in to many locations around Norfolk, the EDP provides restaurant reviews, mobile downloads and information on where to buy a copy of the paper locally. It seems there’s only been a couple of check-ins so far, but as if Foursquare user numbers grow the title will already have itself represented on the network.

Let us know if your title is using Foursquare and how in the comments below.Similar Posts:



September 17 2010

16:45

NearSay offers ‘neighbourhood news’ to New York

NearSay, a new local and hyperlocal news site, has been launched in Manhattan according to a report by Lost Remote.

The site reportedly uses both aggregated information chosen by editors as well as stories currently filed by around 80 contributors.

According to NearSay’s website, its mission is “high quality neighbourhood news”:

We:

  • Let you personalise the news.  You tell us what neighborhoods and topics you care about;
  • Manage a veteran newsroom that covers the stories from your favorite publications, so there is less clutter in your inbox;
  • Curate every story on the site for quality and feature just the best of NearSay;
  • Show you the influential local voices who tell the inside scoop of what’s happening.

Lost Remote says it believes the site will branch out beyond Manhatten soon.Similar Posts:



September 14 2010

13:07

Headline mishaps at Johnston Press and Newsquest titles

There’s been headline embarrassment in the past week both for Johnston Press and Newsquest. This headline filler was spotted by Jon Slattery in the Glasgow Evening Times on Friday.

Commenting on Slattery’s post Ol Peculier offers a link to another similar headline mess-up over at JP’s the Scarborough Evening News, posted on Facebook.

The use of the Atex production system at JP has been blamed for similar problems which have occured at titles since integration of the new system, such as cropped, misaligned or even missing pictures and other headline gaffs.

Earlier this year the NUJ wrote to the Press Complaints Commission claiming that a memo from Johnston Press management showed the new Atex rules “removed a number of checks for accuracy and seriously undermined the role of the editor, removing their final responsibility for the content of the paper”.

Update: We originally incorrectly linked the Glasgow Evening Times to Johnston Press, it has now been corrected as a Newsquest title.Similar Posts:



11:38

Knight Foundation gives $3.14m to local media projects

Niche and hyperlocal news sites in the US are to receive $3.14 million in funding from the Knight Foundation as part of its Community Information Challenge.

The money will be divided up into grants aimed at encouraging greater investment in media-related projects by community foundations, whose funding is matched by Knight.

Receivers of the grants this year will include the Alaska Community Foundation for the Alaska Public Telecommunications project which hosts hyperlocal blogs and virtual community ‘think-tanks’ on issues such as arts and culture; ACCESS News, a website for the deaf community and West Anniston Today in Alabama, which reports on industrial pollution in that area.

The full list of community foundations and supported projects can be found here.

Hatip: paidCotentSimilar Posts:



September 13 2010

10:23

paidContent: Advisory panel preparing report on local TV development

A report on ways to establish new local TV services is due to be delivered to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt by the end of the month, paidContent reports today.

An advisory panel tasked with examining broadcast models has reportedly been sifting through the many submissions on the issue and has also been consulting with local newspaper groups and other organisations.

Quoted in the paidContent report, panel member Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, warned that the group’s proposals will not be “earth-shattering” due to geographical issues.

We are making patient progress, but there are long, intractable issues. We are doing our best to go through all the business models. We are leaving no stone unturned. We are aware of how keen the minister is.

But one of the obvious things about the UK is that our conurbations are not appropriate for local television, they are not big enough. We will get somewhere, which advances the minister’s agenda, but it will not be earth-shattering stuff.

In a speech earlier this year Hunt said the lack of quality local television is “one of the biggest gaps in British broadcasting”.Similar Posts:



August 25 2010

14:10

Local council says it will start charging for FOI requests

A local council in Chester has announced it will start charging for freedom of information requests, claiming the service is currently being misused and manipulated.

According to a press release from Cheshire West and Chester council, it is being inundated with “ridiculous” requests for information which involves “copious detail”, much of it an unnecessary cost to the taxpayer, it adds.

As a result, the council’s Executive has now unanimously agreed a new charging policy for FOI requests. In the release it says it hopes this will enable it to “claw back some of the expense”.

But this tactic has been criticised by head of multimedia for Trinity Mirror Regionals David Higgerson, on his blog, after asking his own questions about the rules of FOI requests.

Councils can’t just charge for FOI requests. If it costs less than £450 in staff time to collate the information, then you can’t refuse to provide it on grounds of costs. Nor can you charge for that time.

In his post Higgerson offers his own recommendations for how the council could save money on answering FOI requests by improving the service. In summary they are:

  • Improve the council’s FOI page.
  • Carry a released information page.
  • Publish more information by default.
  • Re-read the FOI Act and use exemptions more often.
  • Talk to the requesters.

Similar Posts:



12:32

Hyperlocal – what does it mean?

Not long ago it was the buzzword of the media and news industry – but what does ‘hyperlocal’ really mean today?

It’s a question Guardian Local editor Sarah Hartley has sought answer on her blog, putting forward ten characteristics which represent the meaning of the phrase as it evolves.

First, she discusses the growing range of the term, which has developed from a postcode-focused news patch to now being used to describe focused subject matter, story treatment, or even geographical areas which are actually large in size. “Can these things be considered hyperlocal in nature?”, she asks.

Here is a summary of the main characteristics Hartley associates with the term:

  • Participation from the author.
  • Opinion blended with facts.
  • Participation from the community.
  • Small is big. Scale is not important, impact is.
  • Medium agnostic. Use of different platforms.
  • Obsessiveness. Sticking with a story.
  • Independence.
  • Link lovers.
  • Passion.
  • Lack of money.

Readers are invited to comment on her blog on whether it is time to find an alternative to the term ‘hyperlocal’ or whether it is well used enough to keep.

See her full post at this link…Similar Posts:



August 24 2010

11:11

New US hyperlocal Twitter network using zip codes to aggregate news

A new Twitter network could be about to change the face of local news gathering.

Twitzip is designed to share ‘hyperlocal’ news based on users’ zip codes. American creators Nathan Heinrich and Aaron Donsbach created accounts for nearly all of the zip codes in the US back in 2008 with the idea of building a network that would harness the knowledge of local residents and allow them to share news by tweeting from an account for their area.

As we analyzed Twitter’s potential, we realized the one location-based handle that everyone knows is their zip or postal code. We thought it would be a waste if Twitter zip code handles or ‘TwitZips’ were owned by tens of thousands of different people with tens of thousands of different uses. Furthermore, we thought TwitZips might be valuable for networking local citizens together. This was the start of TwitZip.

According to a statement on the network’s website, the service is currently focused on hyperlocal news, blogs, and crime, but will soon integrate weather and government alerts.

If successful, TwitZip could prove a happy hunting ground for local journalists tracking breaking news.

For more details, visit www.twitzip.com and www.hyperlocalblogger.comSimilar Posts:



August 23 2010

14:34

The middle tier: data journalism and regional news

Data journalism and regional news – a relationship that presents challenges, but far more opportunities, according to a post by Mary Hamilton on her Metamedia blog.

Following on from the first UK Hacks/Hackers event last week, she reflects on the use of data by reporters across what she calls “three-tier journalism”: national, regional and hyperlocal. For the first and last, there are clear-cut differences in the data they need, she says. But for regional press, it can be a bit more tricky.

National news needs big picture data from which it can draw big trends. Government data that groups England into its nine official regions works fine for broad sweeps; data that breaks down by city or county works well too. Hyperlocal news needs small details – court lists, crime reports, enormous amounts of council information – and it’s possible to not only extract but report and contextualise the details.

Regional news needs both, but in different ways. It needs those stories that the nationals wouldn’t cover and the hyperlocals would cover only part of. Data about the East of England is too vague for a paper that focuses primarily on 1/6 of the counties in the region; information from Breckland District Council is not universal enough when there are at least 13 other county and district councils in the paper’s patch. Government statistics by region need paragraphs attached looking at the vagaries of the statistics and how Cambridge skews everything a certain way. District council data has to be broadened out. Everything needs context.

But the opportunities for great stories within all of this is “unending” she says, and something well worth regional press investing in.

The question is how we exploit them. I believe that we start by freeing up interested journalists to do data work beyond simply plotting their stories on a map, taking on stories that impact people on a regional level.

See her full post here…Similar Posts:



August 19 2010

11:05

Calls for local media to apply for Olympics accreditation

Local news organisations are reminded they can now apply for accreditation to cover the 2012 Olympics in London in a release from the Newspaper Society.

Companies wishing to send journalists and photographers to the games must apply to the British Olympic Association (BOA) by the final deadline of 15 October.

The Society says it has held talks with both the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and BOA to remind them how “uniquely placed” local media are to cover the event.

The NS has re-iterated that it is vital that the organisers of the Games should take full account of the particular role and needs of the local and regional press both in terms of those applying for full accreditation and in respect of non-accredited journalists, including as regards access to local venues and facilities to follow and report on particular athletes’ progress. The NS has also raised the issue of balancing broadcast rights against the needs of legitimate reportage on newspapers’ own websites, including blogs.

Applications for accreditation must be made using the downloadable form on the BOA website. According to the NS, accreditation for non rights-holding broadcasters is managed by the International Olympic Committee with application forms available in March next year.Similar Posts:



August 13 2010

10:21

Denying press cards to citizen journalists a ‘disservice to news consumers’

Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Jason Stverak, discusses the issue of press credentials and who gets them.

It’s another branch of an issue Journalism.co.uk reported on earlier this week after a citizen journalism news wire Demotix was criticised for handing out its own press passes to some of its contributors.

Stverak argues that staff cuts at traditional media mean the industry should be supporting those citizens and independent journalists who want to take on the role of holding those in power to account – and if press credentials could help them do that job and the content they produce is worthy, they should be equally entitled.

And while there is no one covering the meetings and hearings, and poring over public records, there are people forming to take on these stories. However, these non-profit reporters, citizen journalists and bloggers are often being shown the cold shoulder and being denied credentials because they don’t have a business card from a newspaper or television station.

Denying press credentials to independent, non-profit and citizen journalists who are working to get stories is doing a disservice to every news consumer. Many of these journalists are filling the void that is left when a local newspaper cuts back or closes. They do the same job that the legacy media reporters are sometimes are doing it without either a paycheck or title.

See his full post here…Similar Posts:



August 12 2010

15:24

OJR: An interview with Washington DC’s new local news platform

Following the launch of TBD.com, an online local news platform in Washington DC, the Online Journalism Review has published an interview with Steve Buttry, director of community engagement.

OJR’s Robert Niles asks what the near future holds for the site, which combines the work of two television stations, local journalists, online bloggers and other community sites.

We looked for blogs covering local news, life and issues. We looked for blogs that appeared to provide quality content and post frequently. Washington has lots of outstanding blogs covering national and international affairs that we didn’t invite. We may at some point add a “Washington people” section, but at this point, we have decided not to include any of the many outstanding blogs that are primarily personal. We have some blogs that are mostly about cooking. They have been told that we will be more likely to link to a post that has a sense of place (here’s the recipe that I used to cook the eggplants I got at the Reston Farmers Market) than just a recipe.

See the full post here…Similar Posts:



August 11 2010

15:50

Ofcom considers removal of regional media ownership restriction

Ofcom is considering a government proposal for further relaxation of regional media ownership rules, which could see the one remaining restriction removed.

According to a report by the Press Association, the regulator is considering a request by the Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look at the effect of removing the last restriction, which prohibits any one body from owning all of the following: local newspapers with more than a 50 per cent market share, a local radio station and the ITV licence for the area.

In its response, Ofcom said local media was facing “significant economic pressure” and removing the remaining restriction “could allow local media greater options to consolidate to respond to these pressures”.

But it added that a “serious consideration” remained that combined ownership could give too much control over the local news agenda to one person or company.

The regulator admitted “it is also worth noting that there is probably a reasonably low risk of the kind of consolidation that the remaining rule protects against actually occurring even if the rule was removed.”

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August 09 2010

11:58

Is the local coffee shop the new newsroom?

Could the local coffee shop become the new newsroom for local reporters?

According to Mallary Tenore at PoynterOnline, journalists operating out of coffee shops in the US have been finding stories and making contacts like never before, as they quite literally integrate themselves within their community patch.

Many editors consider their best reporters the ones they never see — because they’re out in the community. Fisher at The Washington Post said the reporters who worked out of coffee shops for the day found sources and stories they may not have otherwise come across.

Rather than keeping reporters at their office desks, it appears that editors who let a journalist’s quick ‘cuppa’ seep into an all-day pursuit will reap the rewards. Journalism.co.uk reported in June how Freehold InJersey (FinJ) had moved its newsroom to a local cafe. They hoped this would invite stronger links between the community news site and its local readers. They even provide a free computer for readers to use.

See the full post at his link…Similar Posts:



August 04 2010

12:14

Hyperlocal aggregator Everyblock launches new widget

Hyperlocal news and information aggregator Everyblock has launched a new location-based widget targeted at local newspaper websites and blogs.

The widget allows third party sites to embed Everyblock’s news and information feeds for specific areas on their own sites.

Posting on the Everyblock blog, co-founder Daniel X. O’Neil,, said: “Until today, we’ve had no official way to share content with other sites or to partner with news outlets in the cities we cover.”

The site was created by Adrian Holovaty in 2008 as a hyperlocal news resource for neighbourhoods in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. It has since expanded to 16 US cities and was bought by MSNBC in August 2009.Similar Posts:



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