Tag Archives: Trinity Mirror

Trinity Mirror Editors Conference – 23/03/2011

Today I spoke to regional editors at Trinity Mirror about how they could work with hyper local sites.

You can watch my presentation to them here and you can listen to me take you through it with this AudioBoo:

Listen!

Below are links to sites, quotes and articles mentioned in the presentation. I hope to add some audio too at some point.

Some journalism student hyperlocal sites

Examples

Quotes

Finally, I asked my hyperlocal followers on Twitter what they would say if they could have half an hour with their local newspaper editor. There are some interesting, amusing and not so amusing responses, which you can view on the Storify I created.

I’m available to consult on any area of working with hyperlocal sites, including helping to broker relationships. Just get in touch.

Should local newspapers and hyperlocal websites be impartial?

When describing The Lichfield Blog I will often include the word ‘impartial’ into the mix. Perhaps our slogan should be ‘blog by name, news by nature’!

It’s a stance decided long ago – that we would only ever tell people what’s happening and never tell them what to think about that.

Instead, we allow the community to decide themselves what they think about it and express that through the comments section on every article.

You could say we have faith in people to have the intelligence to make up their own minds, however mis-placed some think that to be. Personally, I believe that’s the right thing to do.

Now, via Nigel Barlow I read a post criticising the Manchester Evening News’ “anti-government” stance over cuts.

The author, Steve Middleton, says that the MEN shouldn’t be setting the agenda in this way but merely reporting on the issue instead.

Obviously by this point you’d expect me to agree with me. However, the ongoing issue of the HS2 route through Lichfield was picked up by my local paper, the Lichfield Mercury who ran, and encouraged signatories to, a petition against the proposed line.

I actually considered this to be a good thing as it gave local residents and businesses more of a chance to make their voice heard to Government.

So, should local newspapers and indeed local hyperlocal news* sites be impartial and allow the community to make up their mind? Or can they be biased and carry a one-sided view and still serve their readership well?

One thing to consider is where an area only has one local paper to rely on…

* Note I’m talking about a sub-set of the hyperlocal genre here.

This is not a transaction.

I blogged the other week about The Lichfield Blog’s print debut in the Birmingham Mail with an article I wrote about Fuse Festival. It sparked a nice few comments and I thought they warranted a second blog post to clear one thing up.

The printing of that article was not one side of a transaction, nor was it ever going to be. In the comments Ed Walker and Ventnor Blog specifically mentioned payment but as Ed pointed out in a further comment, hyperlocals like ours are set up for many different reasons.

Have no doubt that we are not in it for the money at TLB, not least because there is very little money to be had.

Our main priority is to make sure we are providing a comprehensive, impartial news service to the communities of Lichfield District. Having our stuff printed in the Birmingham Mail isn’t going to be of great benefit in that respect but it does open doors.

And that’s the point.

Let’s be honest – BPM is unlikely to have the money to be dishing out mullah to hyperlocals like us for that kind of coverage, and as I just mentioned we’re not in it for the money so that suits just fine.

…because we’ll get something out of it that’s more beneficial to us. We’re already talking about a whole new area that we can move into on TLB because of the possibilities this collaboration has thrown up.

That’s where the value is. We’re already generating revenue purely because local people have seen and liked what we do and decided to part with their cash for us. That relatively small amount is helping us to survive and have a bit of a comfort blanket.

Our ongoing collaboration will help us to improve our offering and that quality will show through further still and create more revenue opportunities for us that help us to be sustainable.

One more thing…

Ventnor Blog said that our “early actions are possibly setting the die for the future for many more.” To an extent I agree – this will be looked at very closely to see how it works out. However, this should not be seen as a template for the rest of the hyperlocal scene and local media industry to work together apart from the actual conversation.

As Ed said, each hyperlocal is different and so is each local media company. Each partnership has to be treated differently and a middle ground sought between the aims of each party. That’s the bit of our relationship with BPM that should be focused on, not the actual outcomes which are based on many different factors that will not be the same for others.

Update: We’ve recently published a post about local club Chasetown FC, supplemented with pictures from the Birmingham Post & Mail coffers.

The day my hyperlocal blog post was published in a major regional newspaper

Plenty of people will be skeptical about this bit of news but boy am I excited. I’d love to hear if this has happened before or not, but so far it’s the first time that I’m aware of, and I’m chuffed it’s me.

If you pick up a copy of the Birmingham Mail today you will see, on page 29, an article about Lichfield’s Fuse Festival that I originally wrote for The Lichfield Blog, and with pictures taken by our resident photographer, Nick Brickett.

This represents the first fruit from what looks like a very healthy tree of collaboration between the hyperlocal site I volunteer for and Britain’s biggest newspaper group. It’s the realisation of my long held vision of how hyperlocal will contribute to the local media industry – what I like to call the ‘news onion‘.

David Higgerson and I lead a #TAL10 panel on collaboration between hyperlocal and regional media.*

Trinity Mirror’s David Higgerson and I led a session at the Talk About Local unconference in Leeds back in April that dealt specifically with collaboration between organisations like ours. We went through ideas for how we could work together, and took many suggestions and comments from the audience. In all I felt it was productive and it helped David and I to move forward with our own collaboration of which today is the culmination.

The details of how this relationship will mature are still undecided but there is certainly more to come and plenty more discussions to be had. That said, the next few months will prove very exciting.

*Photo by the venerable Josh Halliday.