Another point of discussion at C&binet conference ’09 was the law. There was general consensus libel laws in the UK need to be changed to accommodate for the migration of news online and to make sure the law is clear. On a board of suggestions as to what the government should do to encourage hyperlocal, one post-it note read: “Get rid of draconian libel laws”. There are two main issues regarding libel and the internet – the law is unclear, which makes citizens uneasy about publishing online, and secondly the law is too strict and should look more like our American counterpart. Read more
Another topic which arose out of the C&binet conference in London was the new skills in business and entrepreneurship which journalism students need to be taught to prepare for the changing landscape of the media.
City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism students already take a class in entrepreneurship. Jeff Jarvis, who teaches there, thinks should learn to be stewards of journalism – learning for example how to set up hyperlocal sites, invite and train collaborators, and turn the news site into a successful business.
Details of the hypothetical news model from CUNY can be found here – and it is in the process of being translated for the UK.
It is clear from developments in the US – which the UK will duly follow – journalism students need to be taught or encouraged to do entrepreneurship to make sure they take off in the new climate – rather than fall flat on their face because their traditional skill-set no longer stands up to what the market demands. Read more
This is the fourth in our series of blogposts on the C&binet conference in London which took place last week. Following on from the first session on the state of newspapers and value of news, the issue of council reporting was raised in discussion.
With the decline of regional news coverage are we in danger of losing reports which hold the local council to account. Someone asked how much council reporting was actually going on anyway – are we seeing local reporting though rose-tinted glasses and not realising how little is done by regional media. Some councils actively try to stamp out probing news coverage by refusing journalists access to certain meetings and councillors.
Councils need to be open to bloggers and hyperlocal reporters and treat them like other news organisations (which is by no means an ideal relationship either) – by being given access to council meetings and documents and councillors themselves. Read more
This is the third post in our series from the C&binet conference on what the government should do about hyperlocal. Highly developed in the US, Rachel Sterne from GroundReport presented four types of hyperlocal news models.
Whether networked or single locality journalism, hyperlocal start-ups all have some sort of editorial position and a hierarchy and production system which favours skilled editor roles. The voluntary start-ups often have an authentic and raw feel, but can be inconsistent in maintenance (thus professionalism) and attract small audiences. Hyperlocal sites which have a media parent, such as the recently launched Guardian Local and Associated Press’ Local People sites provide an instant audience, content pool, and access to the technology and resources, but can lack innovation which is prohibited by the internal politics of the media legacy of the publisher which need to be followed.
Models from the US showed how giving content providers (who write and upload articles voluntarily) a platform to publish content rewards them with being pitched next to writers on a site which give them credibility and an impetus to work hard. Similarly deputised editors will work on the basis they feel privileged to have access and control over content. GroundReport and The Huffington Post are good examples of this.
The final slide in the presentation on hyperlocal models shows government funded sites while delivering high quality of coverage would gain limited audience and less sustainable.