Ignorance isn’t bliss: Journalism needs the numbers to stack up — and journalists are best placed to do that

By David Higgerson, Chief Audience Officer, Reach PLC Local journalism has undergone massive change during the last two decades — the move to online, the dominance of third-party platforms, the rapidly changing revenue sources — but there are some constants which remain. We have always needed local people to value the journalism we produce. AndContinue reading Ignorance isn’t bliss: Journalism needs the numbers to stack up — and journalists are best placed to do that

Why low election turnouts are bad news for local journalism – and what could be done about it

In the early hours of Friday morning, Roseanna Wain was elected to Salford Council. Local Democracy Reporter Joseph Timan was there to see the result announced. But it’s the turnout figure which grabbed the headlines. Just 10% of people eligible to vote in the Blackfriars and Trinity ward bothered to do so. 788 people. YouContinue reading “Why low election turnouts are bad news for local journalism – and what could be done about it”

What local elections tell us about the future of local journalism

Like many journalists no longer reporting, election night brings with it a pang of envy. The long hours waiting for something to happen, the many tells of what might be about to happen (counting voting stacks, judging body language, noting who has suddenly left the room) and the snacks. If you’re lucky, the council providesContinue reading “What local elections tell us about the future of local journalism”

Platform, publisher, publican: What if we treat Facebook as a pub landlord?

Within the fuss of Facebook’s heavy-handed temporary ban on fact-checked news in Australia last week, the company also answered the question it has constantly sought to ignore: Is it a platform or a publisher? When pressed, the organisation always argued it was platform. It provided a space for people to share stuff, but it wasn’tContinue reading “Platform, publisher, publican: What if we treat Facebook as a pub landlord?”

Local journalism’s vaccine challenge

The short version: When racist comments flooded threads underneath Black Lives Matter protests stories on Facebook, some newsrooms felt they had no choice but to stop posting those stories on social media. With 1 in 4 of the population said to be unsure about the Covid-19 vaccine, newsrooms are taking a different approach – usingContinue reading “Local journalism’s vaccine challenge”

What if being free was an ambition, not a problem?

For as long I can remember, there has been a very simple debate about whether local news should be paid for online. One based on practicalities. On one hand, those who felt that yes, we could ask people to pay for it. The logic is simple: People paid for their news in print, why couldn’tContinue reading “What if being free was an ambition, not a problem?”

Local journalism has a ready-made cure for the Government’s chronic cloth ears

The 2016 EU referendum was supposedly won on the ability of the Brexit camp to reach beyond the Westminster/media bubble and speak to real people. The history being written about the 2019 general election suggests the Conservatives won because they spoke more effectively to the ‘Red Wall’ constituencies across the North of England than Labour.Continue reading “Local journalism has a ready-made cure for the Government’s chronic cloth ears”

“Can’t pay? We’ll take it away” is a strategy to kill local journalism as we know it

In times of crisis, it’s easy to become enchanted with a simple solution. Faced with a pandemic which has devastated local revenue at many local news organisations, the idea of a paywall can be attractive. And so the argument has gone: “Local journalism would be much stronger if news publishers hadn’t started giving stories awayContinue reading ““Can’t pay? We’ll take it away” is a strategy to kill local journalism as we know it”

Why we must challenge the most dangerous trope in local journalism

In the battle to preserve quality local journalism, the page view is increasingly portrayed as the problem, the thing which is undermining efforts to keep reporting of communities alive. So much so that in a recent British Journalism Review article, two academics writing about the Local Democracy Reporter Scheme presented this sentence as absolute fact:Continue reading “Why we must challenge the most dangerous trope in local journalism”