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Northcliffe Digital statement on Local People sites restructure

June 8th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media, Online Journalism

Reports emerged yesterday that Northcliffe Digital is to restructure its Local People websites, with an end to the contracts of the freelance “contracters” currently on each site.

Instead “dedicated community publishers” will be tasked with managing a group of the sites.

Holdthefrontpage has more here.

Here is the full statement from Northcliffe Digital:

Northcliffe Digital has conducted a review of Local People sites. From August 2012, dedicated community publishers will be appointed to look after a portfolio of Local People sites that sit within Northcliffe Media’s overall footprint.

The current publishing structure uses one freelance contractor per site. These contracts will expire in August.

This approach means Local People will have the benefit of more experienced publishers covering a broader remit and will streamline the running of the business.

Local People sites that sit outside Northcliffe’s footprint will be made available as franchises.

The Local People websites attracted 840,000 unique visitors in May 2012. There are no other immediate plans to make changes to the sites.

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NESTA director ‘very pleased’ with number of applications to hyperlocal project

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Mobile

A hyperlocal initiative from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) has seen over 165 applications made for its pot of £500,000 in seed funding. Applicants face stiff competition as only 10 will receive the money and guidance from the charity and its partners.

The Destination Local project aims to stimulate the hyperlocal media sector with innovation in mobile and location technologies. As Journalism.co.uk reported last month the charity produced a 15,000 word report on its vision for the future of hyperlocal media in the UK. The report highlighted the penetration of GPS capable smartphones as a key innovation opportunity for hyperlocals.

NESTA say it is encouraged by the number of applications received for the project. Director of creative economy programmes Jon Kingsbury told Journalism.co.uk:

We are never really sure (of the the level of interest) when we have a call for funding but I’m really pleased with the number of applications. It demonstrates that there’s some demand and willingness in hyperlocal to be innovative and sustainable.

He said he is also pleased by the range of applications they have received:

What we are looking at is a broad mix of hyperlocal services. There is the provision of news and information but also other ways of benefiting communities with mobile and local technology such as local service provision.

One of the applicants, Simon Perry of VentnorBlog, says the competition has created a lot of interest among hyperlocals:

It has stimulated a lot of thought, people had to think a lot when putting their bids in. I know when we were going through ideas we went through various iterations before we decided on the one for our bid. I think it has really stimulated the market just by having the competition. It’s got people thinking ‘ok, what are we going to do with mobile?’

NESTA have produced a YouTube playlist of all the applicants’s pitches for the project and have produced a map showing where all these have come from:

[iframe src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=MAP&q=select+col0+from+1r2Z9WBXoXuhB2cDCc2hcO3zGqUj2uubbUHMysOQ&h=false&lat=54.1045584605061&lng=-3.0414486500000066&z=6&t=1&l=col0" width="540" height="450"]

 

The Destination Local judging panel have until 28 June 28 to sift through the applications to select the 10 projects who will be eligible for the £50,0000 funding.

Source: Simon Perry via hyperlocal n0tice

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Sarah Hartley to join Talk About Local as interim managing director

December 9th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism, Journalism

Sarah Hartley, a community strategist for the Guardian Media Group and part of the team behind its online noticeboard n0tice, is to join community media project Talk About Local as its interim managing director next year, according to an announcement on the site.

The post adds that she will continue to head “the community strategy for n0tice.com” but will also help with “exciting new initiatives in the pipeline” for Talk About Local, which was set up by William Perrin.

In a quote Hartley said:

I am delighted to be starting 2012 tackling some new challenges working alongside the talented and dedicated team at TAL.

We have some exciting new initiatives in the pipeline, helping people find their online voice for communities, as well as continuing to be active in supporting and promoting the many blogs and websites we are already involved with.

Read more here.

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Media accreditation process open for Paralympic Games

September 22nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media, Newspapers

The Newspaper Society issued a reminder this morning that media accreditation has now opened for the Paralympic Games. The first stage of the process, called Press by Number, opened earlier this month and media organisations have until 28 November to complete a document to indicate how many people they would to request accreditation for.

There are more details and documentation at the British Paralympic Association website. Successful media organisations will be contacted early next year to progress their applications to the second stage.

The NS adds that it is currently working with regional and local newspapers and the British Olympic Association (BOA) to put in place a regional press pool for the Olympic Games, which runs a separate accreditation process.

The Olympic Games process has come in for some criticism in recent weeks after it emerged many local London papers have not yet been approved despite certain aspects of the games taking place on their patch.

The NS reports that the minister for sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said he would write to the BOA about the matter after being questioned by MPs, but said it was “massively oversubscribed”.

He added: “There will be a level of public interest that I do not think we have remotely started to get our minds around. Spots will be tight, but I will absolutely do all that I can.

“There is a possible second channel for non-accredited media, and considerable provision is being made for those who cannot get formally accredited. The mayor of London has done an enormous amount to help that take place.”

Under the pooling system titles would be able to share material on the Games.

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Trinity Mirror’s north east editorial director to leave after 22 years

July 25th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Local media

The editorial director of the north east regional division of Trinity Mirror Paul Robertson is to leave after 22 years working for the publisher.

In a statement Robertson, who was also editor of the Newscastle Evening Chronicle, said he was after a “fresh challenge”.

Having project managed the recent change in the Chronicle publishing schedule, I think it’s now the right time for me to seek a fresh challenge. The team in the north east is outstanding and I would like to thank them all for their support. I will miss the place but most of all the people I have worked with, many of whom are friends as well as colleagues. I wish everyone at ncjMedia and GMC the best of luck and success for the future.

According to Trinity Mirror, under Robertson’s editorship many new platforms and campaigns have been created, such as Your Health, Community Champions and the Great Family Read. He was also “centrally involved in driving the multimedia agenda, overseeing the launch of ChronicleLive”, a release added.

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NUJ: Journalists demand ‘immediate talks’ as 22 jobs face cut at Media Wales

July 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Local media

The National Union of Journalists claims reporters at Media Wales are demanding “immediate talks” with management following plans to cut 22 jobs at the publisher.

According to the union, under the proposals 10 district office staff, eight production journalists and four members of the sports staff would be made redundant. Media Wales, part of the Trinity Mirror group, publishes titles including the Western Mail, South Wales Echo and the Wales on Sunday.

The NUJ chapel members have unanimously passed a motion which states the chapel “expresses shock at the scale of editorial cuts being proposed”, adding that “it is determined to do everything possible to protect the jobs, wages and conditions of its members, as well as the quality of our products”.

Father of the chapel Martin Shipton said: “We shall be entering an intensive period of negotiation with management to mitigate the damage to our members’ livelihood and the newspapers we produce.

“Members are especially angry that while they are expected to lose their jobs or in some cases take pay cuts, Sly Bailey and her fellow directors continue to be paid obscene amounts of money.”

Within the motion the chapel also authorises its committee “to take whatever action it sees fit in association with the union’s national officers”, which could include organising a strike ballot.

In a statement Media Wales confirmed the proposals, which centre on the introduction of a single production team for news and features across the Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Wales on Sunday and all its weekly titles.

This means cuts to the number of full-time roles in the editorial production department and the introduction of a new part-time system, the company said.

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10 steps to getting ahead as a young regional journalist

March 21st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Local media

John Mair is a judge for the Society of Editors’ Regional Press Awards, in the Young Journalist of the Year category. After trawling through nearly 200 articles by more than 60 young journalists, he offers a ten-step guide to getting ahead in regional news and taking home an award in the process.

1. Get the skills

Story-telling and accuracy are still key. So is shorthand

2. Get the stories

It seems bleeding obvious, but it’s what we do. Think of what makes a story and how you get it. Avoid “churnalism”, originality always shows.

3. Go off diary

The best tales are those which nobody else has. That “exclusive” tag at the top of the story is worth so much to the reader (and to you!).

4. Build a contacts book

It is still true that contacts tell you things (sometimes things that they shouldn’t). Good stories are not found in the newsroom but in the real world. Shoe leather still pays.

5. Use the internet

Surprising how many yet how few young journos use social media to get or enhance stories. Like it or not, this is the Facebook and Twitter generation (especially for young people). Most people are now are just a few clicks away.

6. Use the law, especially FOI

It’s fascinating how many stories in local papers are worked up from a hunch and a Freedom of Information request to the local hospital, police, council, etc . And you can always find anomalies in any set of disclosed documents or a story if they refuse you access. Tony Blair may have called it “my greatest mistake”, but FOI is a gold mine for journalists.

7. Don’t be overawed by the nationals

Some of the best stories are local angles on huge national stories, like Raoul Moat in Newcastle and Derek Bird in Cumbria. Local knowledge and door knocking always pays dividends in these situations. You and your paper can end up looking much better than the nationals.

8. Remember that the words are just the beginning

Attractive modern newspapers are about style and production. Side bars, standfirsts and explainers all to build the story. The reader is very busy and you must assume has attention deficit syndrome. Think of how you get some of their attention in a media-rich world

9. Multi skills

Have them. Very few of the sixty wannabes appeared to have audio and video skills. These will be the essential tools of the journalistic future, like it or not.

10. Read the rules properly

If you want to be reporter of the year than read the rules of the competition. If you can’t be bothered to submit your entry properly then why should I be bothered to judge it properly.

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Coventry Conversations: ‘Tele’ editor Darren Parkin on weathering the local newspaper storm

January 26th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media, Newspapers

You have to be either brave or foolhardy to take over as editor of a local newspaper in the current climate. Circulations are dropping, advertising plummeting, and revenues are through the floor.

But Darren Parkin, the 38 year old editor of the Coventry Telegraph, is not foolhardy. “Surviving the perfect storm: one year on” was the title of his Coventry Conversation last Friday, and survive he has.

Fourteen months ago, Parkin took over a ship that was rocking and reeling on the seas of change. The numbers were down but, worse than that “The Tele” seemed to have lost touch with the heartbeat of the Coventry community. Parkin spent his first weekend as editor reading, eating and sleeping in the newspaper’s library to see if he could rediscover that Holy Grail. One concrete result is a weekly page of community news, a lot of which is written by Coventry University’s journalism students.

The greatest challenge to local newspapers today is without a doubt the internet. Why buy when you can find it online? Advertising, especially classified, has fled to cyberspace and the eyeballs have followed. Parkin has met the probelm head on with some hugely popular blogs on the Cov.Telegraph website. One of those, called “The Geek Files“, is by far and away the most popular in the Mirror regional newspapers stable, although Parkin admitted that he had thought it was a bad idea when it was first suggested.

On taking over at the Telegraph, Parkin was faced with a staff of journalists who had become comfortable. Too comfortable. The previous editor was in post for just a year and his predecessor for over a decade. He thinks he has remotivated and refocused the staff. He was full of praise for his newsroom and their talent.

The “perfect storm” is far from over though. Over Christmas, the Telegraph put up its cover price by 3p to 45p, to make up for the anticipated 20 per cent rise in the cost of newsprint this year.

Initially, as expected, the rise reduced sales but they seem to be back on the recovery track. Parkin admitted that all he could do anyway was moderate and not reverse that long-term decline. In 1953, the Telegraph had a circulation of around 100,000. Today it is around 35,000.

But Parkin is willing to be innovative. He has forged new partnerships with the university, and with BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. He and they and the local commercial radio stations are involved in the Coventry News Forum, which is brokered by the university journalism department. That meets monthly and has so far proved to be beneficial to all. As an example, coverage of the 70th Anniversary of the Blitz got deeper following a News Forum meet.

Parkin started his career as a Youth Training Scheme intern on the Dewsbury Reporter 22 years ago, paid a pittance by the state. Since then he has been Young Journalist of the year three times, a chief reporter on the Solihull Times and at 24, Britain’s youngest editor after taking the top job at the Wolverhampton News.

From 2005, he was editor in chief of the well-regarded weeklies division of Coventry Newspapers and since November 2009 the editor of the Coventry Telegraph – a job he told the audience he had always coveted.

Perfect or not, one suspects that Parkin will survive many more storms.

John Mair runs the Coventry Conversations series at Coventry University. He is a senior lecturer in journalism at the university and co-ordinates the Coventry News Forum.

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edwalker.net: How to overturn a section 39 order in court

December 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

A useful post from journalist Ed Walker about how to appeal against and overturn a section 39 order – issued by courts to protect children involved in cases from being identified – from Ed’s first-hand experience of fighting a ruling banning the reporting of the name of a child in a murder case

Full post on Ed Walker’s blog at this link…

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paidContent:UK: Web could play deciding role in local media mergers, says Ofcom

December 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Local media

Interesting report from paidContent:UK on what role the web will play in competition issues in proposed local media mergers according to Ofcom. Summarised by paidContent:UK and from Ofcom’s final Local Media Assessment guidance published as part of a review of the current media merger landscape:

Ofcom will factor in any online local media operators, when considering whether there is sufficient competition to two merging parties.

In theory, that could see Trinity Mirror, Northcliffe and Global Radio, in the event of any such merger, arguing that their local papers and stations would not dominate local ad sales because sites like Gumtree or Google also sell local ads in the same patch.

Full story on paidContent:UK at this link…

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