Talk About Local Blog

Talk About Local unconference 2015 #tal15

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MPs call for BBC to share their local…

The Commons Media Select Committee report into the BBC has added further impetus to a rebalancing of the BBC’s relationship with local media – whether papers, websites, tweeters etc.  Although they don’t mention the independent hyperlocal web explicitly the Committee says: ’30. The BBC must not expect to receive others’ news content without providing something in return. We are attracted by the idea of exchanges of content and information, where the BBC local websites link to the source of local material they have used, and in return the BBC allows...

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Knight News Challenge on elections – could be…

This will be of interest to #hyperlocal people in the UK  – I fully expect some local sites will produce brilliant election coverage this year combining genuine on the ground presence with smart application of technology.  It’s always hard to know with Knight whether they take UK applications seriously – but they have awarded in the UK in the past and confirm that this competition is global (despite continual mention of Americans).  And as we have an election coming up there must be fertile ground on this side of the pond....

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It’s #TAL15 – what’s on the agenda?

  Wow it’s only a week to go before TAL15 at the wonderful British Library conference centre next to London’s St Pancras on 28 February.  It will be great to see all our local web friends again and welcome new faces who haven’t been to this event before.  There still room for more to come (we’ll release more tickets).  It’s an unconference so there isn’t a fixed agenda in advance – the attendees make that up on the morning.  But to get the creative juices flowing here’s a few topics we...

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Police databases time for some broadly based civilian…

Through my seat on the Crime and Justice Sector Transparency panel I have asked the Home Office for a note on lay or civilian membership of governance bodies of the major police databases.  I want to help stop the police blundering into the same problems that the NHS England encountered with Caredata through, in my view poor management and a lack of balanced governance. About ten years ago as a resident of London’s Kings Cross I was heavily involved in helping the police and other local bodies fight crime.  I am...

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BBC Head of News acknowledges frankly that BBC…

James Harding came to the BBC from The Times.  So he isn’t as steeped in BBC-ism as other senior managers there and this gives him a helpful perspective.  I’ve seen him speak up at Salford and is, I think sincere in his efforts to change the way the BBC does things better to prepare it for the future.  James Harding has a nice report out (pdf – don’t under any circumstances try the awful bespoke snazzy website which manages to screw up even scrolling) on the future of news.  The...

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Statutory notices – a modern approach to alerting…

My colleague Sarah Hartley, writing on Prolific North  has uncovered the extent of government spending on advertising with a handful of local papers in some Northern cities – the so called statutory notices.  And CLG has at the same time published an interesting document on experimenting with changes to the statutory notices regime. It’s a topic we have been poking away at for a while here, in particular while working with Carnegie UK Trust and talking to the amazing MySociety about how a modern approach to data could help local...

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Mapping council expenditure on newspaper advertising

The issue of council spending on local newspaper advertising is about to get far more scrutiny – not least because the local government minister Eric Pickles is putting some focus onto it. At least some of the advertising purchased each year is for statutory notices – i.e. that important public information which the council is obliged to pay newspapers to disseminate such as planning applications and road changes. This has long been an topic that hyperlocal publishers, bloggers and civic activists have taken an interest in and when I reported...

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'The future's bright – the future's local' –…

The Carnegie Trust has today produced the report, The future’s bright – the future’s local, after studying the space and its opportunities while running the Neighbourhood News initiative in locations around the UK. Over the last two years, the Trust has been working with five local news organisations across as part of its project, which was set up to help develop innovative ways of producing local news with local organisations. The headline grabbing recommendation from the report today is that the government should widen existing financial interventions in the local...

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Local web use data – one in ten…

Handy round up from OFCOM of a range of internet statistics including local news One in ten say they use local community websites or apps at least weekly (7% in 2013) (page 50). Overall number of sites on Openly Local down, mainly due to Local People network dying slowly.  OFCOM also give good prominence to the excellent work of Andy Williams, Dave Harte et al throughout – Talk About Local has greatly enjoyed being part of the Creative Citizens research consortium. According to Ofcom’s news survey research, half (51%) of UK...

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