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Hyperlocal 101Part Three: News and Storygathering Damian Radcliffe, 14th May 2014 Twitter: @damianradcliffe Web: damianradcliffe.com Image via: http://nikolasschiller.com/gis/3D_buildings_nadir.jpg
This is the latest in a series of occasional slides lookingat aspects of hyperlocal media and community journalism. They are designed to spark ideas and introduce you to examples of things you may have missed. Part One explored Business Models.Part Two examined Production Models & Typology These slides include examples of 10 different ways in which storygathering has changed. Can you help identify any more?
1. Audioboo Launched in 2009 with support from Channel 4 and it’s now defunct 4iP programme, Audioboo is a smartphone app which allows uses to easily record audio content and share it online and across social networks. (Here’s an early 2009 review from Gigaom.) In July 2013, Audioboo claimed: • 7.8 million unique users; • Media partners, such as the BBC (with 38 Audioboo channels) and the Guardian (10 channels). It has also evolved into a platform for audio books and a social network for the visually impaired Hyperlocal outlets that have used this tool include: London SE1 : http://audioboo.fm/se1 Towcester: http://audioboo.fm/towcesternews Drimnagh is Good: https://audioboo.fm/hyperlocal To find out more listen to Talk About Local’s Sarah Hartley; and read this Online Journalism Blog interview with founder Mark Rock .
2. Council reporting Eric Pickles has repeatedly called on UK Councils – with mixed success - to let hyper-local bloggers tweet as well as film Council proceedings, saying: “More and more local news comes from bloggers or citizen journalists telling us what is happening at their local council… …We are in the digital age and this analogue interpretation of the press access rules is holding back a new wave of local scrutiny, accountability and armchair auditors.“ Source: http://bit.ly/eKAw3W Local Government Minister Bob Neill, in a letter to Local Authority leaders, also explained: “Council meetings have long been open to interested members of the public and recognised journalists, and with the growth of online film, social media and hyper-local online news They should equally be open to ‘Citizen Journalists’ and filming by mainstream media. Bloggers, tweeters, residents with their own websites and users of Facebook and YouTube are increasingly a part of the modern world, blurring the lines between professional journalists and the public.” Source: http://bit.ly/ektNLF
3. New ways of for sharing/monitoring TweetyHall is an online aggregator for Councillors who tweet. It’s primary aim is to encourage “participation and open conversations, promoting better and more transparent communication between voters and elected representatives.” Grassroots Reporting SE1 website has used AudioBoos to record Southwark council meetings. On the Wight has live-blogged various Isle of Wight events and meetings. Inside the M60 has tweeted from Council / Executive meetings of Manchester City Council.
4. The power of the FOI The ?25,000 website which attracts just 10 visitors a day FOI (Freedom of Information) request from the Saddleworth News hyper-local site to Oldham Council showed that the “Oldham Says” website received just 2,548 unique visits in the six months to the end of September 2010. “Oldham Says” is aimed at residents; and supports a local strategic partnership for the area, bringing together representatives from bodies including the Council, Greater Manchester Police, NHS, the education sector and others, to tackle various problems. FOI showed “With a total of ?25,544 having been spent on setting up the site, that’s roughly equivalent to an incredible ?10 for each and every click. The site’s readership has been particularly low in the last two months, with just 268 people logging on in August and 296 doing so in September.”
5. Using open data to share info Bournville News took public information but presented it in a useful way for residents, by producing a map of Birmingham City Council gritting routes in Bournville. “I thought the potential grit shortage might mean that some roads would stop getting gritted should the cold spell continue and knowing which roads were meant to be gritted would be useful knowledge. ‘Will my road get gritted?’ is an easy question to answer since the City Council has a alphabetical list of all the roads that are gritted in order of priority.” (Quotes from Dave Harte.)
6. Using open data for campaigns As more data becomes available, so hyper-local media can do more than just check up on Council expenditure. In 2010 a residents group in Bramcote showed how open data could be used for civic action and campaigning. They worked with Talk about Local, the local police and the Council to set up a website. It included detailed discussions about traffic data, following repeated accidents on Hillside Road. In July 2011 the site reported that a traffic calming scheme had started on the road and in September that the police, “would [now] be targeting offenders on Hillside Road.”
7. Using open data for accountability The UK Government transparency agenda includes a commitment to make public all Council Expenditure over ?500, salaries of Public Servants earning ?150,000+ and organograms. CLG are encouraging financially literate citizens to act as ‘Armchair Auditors’ scrutinising Council expenditure in a similar manner to the way that the Guardian asked people to help them review MP’s expenses. This hasn’t been a huge success. But examples do/did exist. e.g. Adrian Short’s Website for the Royal Borough Of Windsor & Maidenhead (now offline)
8. Using UCG and photos Tackable offers an interesting mix of hyperlocal news, user-generated content, and social gaming. Neiman has a good article explaining how it all works: http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/tackable-aims-to-become-the-social-network-for-user-generated-news/
9. APIs: Spot the Difference
10. Expanding range of social sources
This list isn’t exhaustive. If you have other examples, please add them in the comments or send me a tweet! About the Author: @damianradcliffe Damian Radcliffe is a Doctoral Student and an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has written about hyperlocal media for a number of organisations and media outlets including: Ofcom, the BBC College of Journalism, Networked Neighbourhoods, journalism.co.uk and the Democratic Society. In 2012 NESTA published his landscape report - “Here and Now” – the first comprehensive review of the UK’s hyperlocal scene. Links to Damian’s extensive hyperlocal writing and research can be found via his personal website: www.damianradcliffe.wordpress. com/hyperlocal