Hyperlocal 101: Part Three, 10 examples of news and storygathering techniques
Part Three: News and Storygathering
Damian Radcliffe, 14th May 2014
Image via: http://nikolasschiller.com/gis/3D_buildings_nadir.jpg
This is the latest in a series of occasional slides looking
at 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?
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.“
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.”
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.”
• 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.
“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
‘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
• 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
Of Windsor &
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:
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
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