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”

The unseen ways those stories you love to hate are actually helping the journalism you cherish to survive

This week, we saw photos of mile-long queues for KFC. Conventional wisdom is to roll your eyes and wonder why it is so many people are desperate for a bit of the Colonel’s secret recipe. But the adherence to conventional wisdom, of what we *should* think about something, of what we *should* consider important inContinue reading “The unseen ways those stories you love to hate are actually helping the journalism you cherish to survive”

Hurt journalism, win power: The sad truth of General Election 2019

In summary, we have a Tory Party which is undermining critics, a Labour Party undermining the very principle of holding power to account, and the Lib Dems trying to pass propaganda off as journalism. The election of 2019 isn’t good news for those who care about journalism… Standing up for journalism is never going toContinue reading “Hurt journalism, win power: The sad truth of General Election 2019”

We need to get better at telling our own story

The short version: If we’re going to thrive as an industry, local journalism needs to become more representative to ensure we reach, and reflect, the lives of as many people as possible. We have a positive story to tell to help us here, but need to be ready to tell it, and also be preparedContinue reading “We need to get better at telling our own story”

A manifesto for saving local democracy (a very, very long read!)

Last week, I watched in realtime as more people than ever before (in the digital news era at least) engaged with stories about local elections. The number of page views generated from articles about the elections doubled when compared to 2018. Of course, volume of articles was up significantly thanks the the main variable betweenContinue reading “A manifesto for saving local democracy (a very, very long read!)”

Finding your newsroom’s ‘public interest’ metric

In newsrooms, we can measure things like never before. Page views and active engaged time are the minute-by-minute trading currencies of the newsrooms I work with. On a monthly basis, no fewer than 21 metrics are studied to ensure we’re building a future for journalism which is sustainable. Those metrics include the two mentioned above,Continue reading “Finding your newsroom’s ‘public interest’ metric”

How the page view will help save journalism

The page view feels like it has been under attack for years, getting the blame for pretty much, well, everything wrong with journalism. In digital journalism circles, the argument went that there had to be better metrics to look at when determining what ‘good’ journalism looked like. Time spent, active time spent, pages per visit,Continue reading “How the page view will help save journalism”

Local journalism’s biggest challenge is still waiting to be solved

Here’s my prediction for 2019: We’re going to spend a lot of time talking about how to fund local journalism. Not perhaps the most remarkable of predictions – and certainly in the same league as that of BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan, who says he doesn’t expect the Cairncross Review into quality journalism to saveContinue reading “Local journalism’s biggest challenge is still waiting to be solved”

FOI Friday: How the Local Democracy Reporter scheme is making the most of FOI

It’s just under a year since the contracts were awarded for the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the scheme funded by the BBC which is aiming to ensure more councils are covered in more depth. But it’s not just through council meeting reports that authorities are being scrutinised – the LDRS reporters are also making fineContinue reading “FOI Friday: How the Local Democracy Reporter scheme is making the most of FOI”

Journalism is too important to just ignore the money question

The other week, I tried to explain some changes we’d made to the way we cover football in London. It was in response to a post on a Brentford FC fan site by a journalist called Jim Levack, who was annoyed that the titles I work with no longer send a dedicated reporter to everyContinue reading “Journalism is too important to just ignore the money question”