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October 05 2010


David Higgerson: Tell your readers about failed FOI requests

A blog post by David Higgerson, head of multimedia for Trinity Mirror Regionals, this week addresses the issue of FOI request refusals and what he thinks journalists should do if they hit a brick wall in their attempts to get information.

He argues that it is important for journalists to not only try to get the information for their readers, but to inform their audience of their endeavours if the material itself cannot be released or reported.

Some see journalistic use of FOI as reporters just finding ‘easy leads’. But if reporters and journalists are working on behalf of their readers, then surely it makes sense to tell readers when they can’t report information

See his full post here…Similar Posts:

September 03 2010


William Hague and the power of the political blogger

David Higgerson, head of multimedia at Trinity Mirror, has posed some interesting questions on what the William Hague and Christopher Myers story means for the power, image and responsibilities of the blogging community.

The fact Hague felt the need to release the statement he did, and that Myers felt the need to stand down, shows the influence political bloggers have within the Westminster village. (…) Does Hague’s response suggest that he and his colleague over-weighed the true impact of what is written on blogs for the wider public? It’s certainly the mother of all statements, and there’s a danger it sets a new precedent for denying rumours. Will we now see a glut of rumours around the internet in the knowledge that a denial is likely to follow?

And, he adds, if recent events do show political bloggers are becoming increasingly influential, should we now be addressing the introduction of greater responsibilities for such a powerful online community?

See his full post here…Similar Posts:

August 25 2010


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.

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June 08 2010


David Higgerson: 10 ideas for hyperlocal websites

David Higgerson, head of multimedia at Trinity Mirror Regionals, has been researching the relationship between local newspapers and their websites and independent, hyperlocal websites and blogs. His 10 suggestions adapt some lessons learned by local papers to hyperlocal publishers wanting a bigger audience and also look at how closer relationship could be forged by ‘traditional’ local media outlets and new sites. The ideas include:

Weather: There’ s a reason why newspapers spend a fair bit of money on weather for their newspapers – people want it, and the more local the better. That’s good news for hyperlocal sites, because widgets such as the ones from the Met Office make that a quick win for you.


Nostalgia: The old newsroom joke that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be couldn’t be more wrong – it’s as popular now as it always has been. Again, a good working relationship with the local newspaper (and its big archive) would help here – but delving into the archive section of the local library is another alternative.

Full post at this link…

David Higgerson will be speaking as part of Journalism.co.uk’s panel on grassroots and social journalism at Friday’s BBC College of Journalism and Polis Value of Journalism conference.

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June 01 2010


Local and national government open up data – starting now

Yesterday saw the publication of an incredible letter by David Cameron to government departments, including local government. It sets out a whole range of areas where data is to be released - some of it scheduled for January 2011, but some of it straight away. You can find my thoughts about the release in this article by Laura Oliver, along with those of the likes of David Higgerson. This is probably as important an event as the passing of the FOI Act - it is more important than the launch of data.gov.uk. Note it.

April 30 2010


#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – journalist’s guide to Twitter

Trinity Mirror Regional's head of multimedia, David Higgerson, offers a guide to Twitter and how to make it work for journalists. Find it on his blog at this link... Tipster: Judith Townend. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

January 13 2010


#DEN2010 Winter Meeting: Benchmarking Your Website

As we grapple with how to create revenues with our online brands it's obvious that we must understand more about our audiences than just whether the number of unique users is increasing month on month.

How much of our audience are regular visitors or eager participants in our online comemnt forums? How many are based abroad and how many are just dipping in to follow a link to one page?

Our Winter 2010 meeting will allow you to compare notes other digital editors and see how your site measures up to industry trends.

Editors from four of the UK's leading news organisations will "lift the bonnet" on their strategies to engage audiences – and the metrics they use to measure the success of their efforts – in a Chatham House Rule-discussion in Preston.

The programme will run from 1:30-5pm on February 25th, with registration & lunch from 1pm in the Adelphi Conference Room at the University of Central Lancashire.

The session aims to assist you in addressing some linked challenges:

(1) advertisers who seek not just large audiences, but engaged prospective customers; and

(2) executives who are seeking to plug budget shortfalls by introducing paywalls around all or some of their online content and activities.

Participating in the panel discussion will be:

  • Dave Higgerson, head of multimedia of Trinity Mirror regionals
  • Ian Brogden, digital editor at Cumbrian Newspapers
  • Jane McFarlane, assistant news editor Northcliffe Media's Derby Evening Telegraph
  • Martin Hamer, digital editor at Johnston Press' Lancashire Evening Post.

There is no charge for the event, but seating is limited and registration is required. All those attending the event are also asked to contribute to the discussion by completing this survey. Responses will remain anonymous.

The discussion will be chaired by François Nel, director of the Journalism Leaders Programme, who will also present the results of the survey and related findings from a two-year study into the online activities of newspapers in Britain’s 66 cities.

The programme will end with a discussion about ideas to cover the election online led by Nick Turner, Head of Digital Content Development for the CN Group.

The Digital Editors Network is sponsored by Northwest Vision & Media and the School of Journalism, Media & Communication at the University of Central Lancashire, home to England's oldest university journalism programme.

For addtional programme details and updates, contact or follow Nick Turner at @nickincumbria / Nick.Turner@Cumbrian-Newspapers.co.uk , or François Nel @francoisnel / FPNel@uclan.ac.uk .

Follow - and contribute to - our Twitter updates #den2010

December 09 2009


#aopforum: Liveblog coverage on microlocal media discussion

For those of us unable to attend today’s Association of Online Publishers (AOP) forum on microlocal media (hyperlocal/ultralocal/local – whatever you want to call it), we’re lucky to have the liveblogging skills of journalist Caroline Beavon, who will be covering the sessions as they happen from 2:30pm.

Starting with: Sarah Hartley, launch editor for the Guardian’s local project:

Sarah Hartley at AOP

Click Here!


Paul Bradshaw, senior lecturer in online journalism, Birmingham City University (from about 2:50pm) on monetising microlocal:

Paul Bradshaw @ AOP

Click Here!


A case study from Roger Green, managing director of digital media, Newsquest (3:35pm):

Roger Green at AOP

Click Here!


Panel discussion (4:05pm) featuring the above and:

  • Lori Cunningham, digital strategy director, Johnston Press
  • David Higgerson, head of multimedia at Trinity Mirror
  • James Thornett, executive product manager, local & llocation services BBC

AOP Panel debate

Click Here!


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