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Where, Why & WhenMike Rawlins - Society of Editors – Manchester 10 May 2012
Stoke-on-TrentIt is only when you get a little further north, to the pottery towns andbeyond, that you begin to encounter the real ugliness of industrialism--an ugliness so frightful and so arresting that you are obliged, as it were,to come to terms with it.
LongtonThe pottery towns are almost equally ugly in a pettier way. Right inamong the rows of tiny blackened houses, part of the street as it were,are the pot banks—conical brick chimneys like gigantic burgundy bottles buried in the soiland belching their smoke almost in your face.
So why Pits n Pots?School leavers in Stoke-on-Trentwere often told ‘you’re only good for Pits or t’ Pots’.
Why?..• Interest in local politics• Freedom of discussion – The Sentinel used to censor comments rather than moderate them – BBC don’t actively encourage comments• Want to see the City improve• Local media were not interested in local politics• Lack of council coverage from local media
Maiden speech of Tristram Hunt MP
Maiden speech of Tristram Hunt MP
October 2008 ‘All you need is a bottle of red wine and some time’ Tony Walley Oct 08
December 2008 We moved the site from Blogger to a WordPress install on pitsnpots.co.uk • 400 unique visitors • 1200 page views
Pits n Pots Ethos• We don’t edit audio interviews• We don’t edit video interviews• We don’t spin stories• Every political party that wants to speak to us gets exactly the same deal
Remember the story of the BNPusing a Polish Spitfire on one of their posters?
Telegraph 4 March
Daily Mail 4 March
This Is Bristol 29 May
Pits n Pots February 23
BNP Branch Secretary resigns • We allowed Craig Pond, BNP Branch Secretary & Chairman of their policy group to post on PnP. • Then we challenged his policies. • He resigned.
March 2009 Arresting Stuff
December 2009 Changed platform from WordPress to Drupal • 1900 unique visitors • 6000 page views
The EDL come to town • Live blog of the day • 500 viewers at peak • Pits n Pots YouTube channel was second highest news channel for 3 days. • ITV were number one.
BNP Manifesto Launch • Nick Griffin MEP comes to Stoke-on- Trent to launch the BNP General Election Manifesto. • Describing the city as ‘the jewel in the BNP crown’
June 2010 New theme and site make over. • 2500 unique visitors • 10,000 page views • 2700 articles • 30,000 comments
Interviews• Joan Walley MP• Mark Fisher MP• Tristram Hunt MP• Rob Flello MP• Mike Natrass MEP• Nick Griffin MEP• Ed Milliband MP• Ken Loach• Baroness Warsi• George Galloway MP• Edwina Currie• John van de Laarschot (Stoke-on-Trent City Council Chief Executive)
Local Election 2011• Boundary changes• Increased number of wards• Reduced number of councillors• Moved to whole elections• April & May were our busiest months ever• 12,000 unique visitors• 30,000 page views
August 2011 Tony Walley leaves Pits n Pots I took a break to reassess < 1000 unique visitors
March 2012 New site launched back on WordPress platform • 1000 unique visitors • 3000 page views
April 2012 Pits n Pots n Print • 1900 unique visitors • 6500 page views
Location Based Content
Sustainability• Can Pits n Pots or any independent local website become sustainable?• What business model(s)?• More contributors• Paid Staff?
Holding Power To Account• Return to scrutiny of the council• More scrutiny of the councillors• More investigative content• Better use of data in content
Championing the cityStoke-on-Trent like many cities across theUK has its problems.We are critical of the City Council.We should balance that with being achampion for the city and promoting thegood whilst exposing the bad.