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HTFP: Archant Suffolk journalists to pool content, write for online ‘editions’

October 14th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Journalists at Archant Suffolk titles the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Evening Star are to produce content for both papers’ print and online platforms.

The titles’ websites will also have three ‘editions’ a day, with content published online to coincide with peaks in audience traffic at breakfast, noon and ‘drive-time’.

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BBC: ITV may outsource regional news, says Grade

October 9th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

ITV chairman Michael Grade has said third parties could be paid to provide ITV with its regional news programmes.

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DEN: Should local newspapers run press release feeds?

October 8th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Newspapers, Online Journalism

At yesterday’s Digital Editors’ Network (DEN) event at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), UCLAN’s Johnston Press chair of digital journalism Jane Singer proposed a plan to free up the reporting time of local newspaper journalists:

Rather than re-writing certain press releases from local organisations and authorities, Singer said, newspaper websites could re-publish these releases untouched with their origins clearly marked.

This system should be in place in a designated section of the site clearly marked up as ‘press releases from Lancashire Police’ etc, and could even be a simple link to an organisation’s website or an automated RSS feed of releases.

Journalists at the paper would then have more time to follow-up on the facts behind the releases and put ‘news’ from organisations into context for readers, said Singer.

The idea was welcomed by some in the room, dismissed by others, who felt that republishing press releases could compromise editorial standards, even if the releases were clearly marked as not from the paper’s staff.

Yet others agreed that this could be a time-saving function of websites and help attract readers to the newspaper’s site as a first port of call for all local information.

So which titles are doing this already?

Wrexham’s Evening Leader has a list of links to local authority sites – providing the information on the site, but without the problem, raised by some editors, of running unedited releases from organisations.

The paper has a widget to receive RSS feeds from the North Wales Police website, which keeps it up to date with its latest press releases. Visitors to can follow a link from our navigation bar to find the page, Christian Dunn, the site’s editor, explained to us.

“It was one of our first experiments with embedding a widget on a section of our site. After listening to some of the ideas from the Digital Editors Networking event I’m going to make more of the section and talk to North Wales Police to see if there is any other material we could display for them,” he said.

“I don’t have a problem taking feeds from organisations such as the police and putting them on our site – as long as it’s clear the content is not written or produced by us.”

The Teesside Evening Gazette has its own take on Singer’s idea: its network of postcode-based hyperlocal websites link out to local community groups’ websites and local authority sites. They also link to BBC weather reports, which can be filtered by postcode too, rather than creating their own weather widgets or feeds.

Outside of the UK, the Knox News Sentinel provides feeds of political news and national news straight from the Associated Press and PR Newswire – and clearly labelled as such. While this isn’t specifically local info, it does take the onus off reporters at the Sentinel from having to repurpose this content.

This can’t be an exhaustive list of site’s putting Singer’s idea in to practice, so who else is doing this – in the UK or elsewhere? And does it work for you?

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HTFP: Guardian Media Group to close six newspaper branch offices

September 16th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs

GMG is to make a series of cutbacks in the Manchester area with six newspaper branch offices set to close.

The papers affected will be: the Heywood Advertiser, the Middleton Guardian, the South Manchester Reporter, the Manchester Metro News, the Macclesfield Express and the Wilmslow Express.

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Huffington Post local launches Chicago site

August 14th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

A beta version of the Huffington Post’s new site for Chicago has gone live.

The site is the first of a potential dozen local Huffington Post sites set for launch and will aggregate news for Chicago from local sources and posts from local bloggers.

Local information, such as crime stats, events listings and nightclub opening hours, will also feature in a ‘rotating at-a-glance’ way, said editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington in an introduction to the new site.

“Transferring The Huffington Post’s blend of news, opinion, and community – delivered with our familiar look and attitude – to a local level, HuffPost Chicago is part local news source, part resource guide, and part virtual soap box,” said Huffington.

The site will be edited by Ben Goldberger, a former reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Tip of the day from – using Twitter for local news

August 13th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Reporters: Use social media to find news stories. Microblogging service Twitter can be filtered by location using Twitterlocal, enabling you to create an RSS feed of tweets from a specific area. Tipster: Laura Oliver

To submit a tip to, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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MediaGuardian: BBC local video plans ‘very damaging’ says, Newspaper Society

August 13th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

The organisation representing the regional newspaper industry has hit out against the BBC’s plans to increase local video online. The Newspaper Society said the proposals, which would see up to £23 million spent across 60 local BBC websites, “will compete direct with our members’ operations in a harmful fashion”.

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EveryBlock teams up with the Chicago Tribune

July 24th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized

EveryBlock, the local news and data aggregation service, has gone into a beta partnership with the Chicago Tribune.

The paper will publish a map and local news articles powered by EveryBlock, an announcement on the site’s blog says. Articles from the last 48 hours will be plotted on the Trib map to allow users to search geographically.

“[I]t’s an experiment in a new form of news dissemination – that is, news filtered at the block level – and journalists can look to us for inspiration in new forms of publishing information. Second, we unearth a lot of government data that journalists might be interested in researching further,” EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty said in an interview with

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Tip of the day from

Local reporting: Stuck for a story? Check the national news agenda – there is nearly always a local angle to a national story and it will help your readers to better understand the issues too. Tipster: John Thompson

Got a tip? Submit it here – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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Guardian: Channel 4 ponders move into regional news

July 3rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Channel 4 is mulling over the a possible move into the gap in regional news broadcasting left by the retreat of ITV services.

The broadcaster is in discussion with Ofcom and ITV about investing funds in regional news services and infrastructure – a move which could strengthen its public service broadcasting hand.

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