Tag Archives: Islington Gazette

Social media in hyperlocal online journalism

1 Apr

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

Hyperlocal online journalism: the local journo has much to learn if they’re to exploit social media the way their national counterparts do.  Check out The Guardian who have a whole subsection dedicated to social networking and the peripheral issues, like the article on U.S. spy software that manipulates social media.

I was granted an exclusive interview with Hannah Keep, who has experienced firsthand how they use social media in the news gathering process on a hyperlocal level, at The Bedfordshire on Sunday. She gives us a fascinating insight into the way the hyperlocal news outfits are catching up with their national siblings.

As Hannah says, the local press have been slow to catch up with the social media trend.  My local paper, The Surrey Advertiser has only been tweeting since July 2009.  Compare that with The Times who’ve been actively tweeting since May 2007 and you see the scale of the catch up they’re facing.

And if they don’t, they’re missing a trick.  City journos will tell you the value of: #islington when on the hunt for a story in their patch.  The story of the Islington vigilantes who warn motorists of speed cameras was broken by two of my colleagues: Katie Satchell and Livvy Bolton.  And then two days later it hit the Islington Gazette.  And ask Katie and Livvy where their lead came from? You guessed it: a Sunday morning #islington on Twitter.  Well, maybe you didn’t guess the Sunday morning part.  But the hashtag delivered the goods, nonetheless.

That’s not to say the local press aren’t writing about social media.  The Surrey Ad. reported on a 14-hour tweeting event which took place at the University of Surrey in February.  But that’s their most recent article on the matter.  Let’s look again at The Guardian and their most recent social media themed article is from today: an interview discussing how the internet has altered the face of journalism.

And let’s think smaller: I’m talking really hyperlocal journalism, here.  Step forward: The Horsley Magazine. What, no hyperlink? We’re old school here, readers: no website, no hyperlink.  But the potential is there: there’s a Horsley Network profile on Twitter and we just need some aspiring journo to connect the dots.

Hyperlocal is the platform where there exists the most room for rapid and broad expansion in journalism, whether on- or offline.  And I’m not alone in thinking so – the Editors Weblog agree!

I think I’ve just found my next project…


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Burritos on Twitter – how social media helped create a news package

6 Feb

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

Over the past fortnight, I’ve managed to use social media in three different stages of the process of creating an item of TV news journalism.

It was through a classmate’s blog that I (as reporter) and my director discovered Richard Fitzgerald’s blog and his quest for love via the most unlikely of routes: the spicy Mexican burrito.

Richard had been using social media – his Twitter account to advertise and his blog to document – as Cupid in his pursuit of love.  The winner of a year’s supply of burrito vouchers in a social media event, the corresponding publicity surrounding his win led to him being inundated with requests from girls to help him out with all those burritos.

Exchanging tweets with the Burrito Bachelor!

Using Twitter we contacted him to ask whether he would be interested in us doing a news report on his unusual quest.

Direct messages were exchanged and the interview set up.  Meanwhile, we contacted the author of the initial source of the story, Charlie, to arrange an interview to get the inside scoop: how do the girls feel about being blogged about? Particularly as, by Richard’s own admission, all the details go up online, however negative.

We then set about scripting and shooting the package:

But it doesn’t end there.  Back in touch with our burrito bachelor via Twitter, we were able to send Richard the Vimeo link so he could see our report for himself.

Using Twitter to publicise our news package to Richard's followers, as well as our own

 

 

Posting our video to Twitter and FB, we maximised the number of people who could see the video and have even had our package embedded in Richard’s latest blog post. Significantly, the volume of traffic to Richard’s blog is enormous:

 

The blog for the burrito love quest gets a lot of action!

In such a way, we were able to exploit the huge local community Richard’s blog had already established, in order to increase our own journalistic presence.

This package was ABOUT social media and we were able to use social media to PURSUE it and then ultimately, to PUBLICISE our own journalism. Any means we can find to infiltrate an established online community and share examples of our TV journalism can only be an asset to the aspiring journo.

Since then, Richard’s burrito blog has appeared in print: both the Islington Gazette and Metro are as interested as us in the fate of his fast food quest for love!

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, perhaps we should all take note: burritos, not oysters, seem to be the latest aphrodisiac.