Passing over the hyperlocal baton
I have recently left as editor of Bournville Village. It has been an enriching time and has taught me a great deal about which stories work on community websites, how to work a beat while leaving in the community you are writing about, and lessons in hyperlocal reporting, gathering and production.
I now move on back to Cardiff, a city I have an immense love and passion for, to work as the Cardiff beatblogger for the Guardian Local project. I’ve been lying low for a while until this announcement so apologies for the silence.
Taking my place as editor of Bournville Village is Dave Harte, who has been with me from the conception of the site, writing as a contributor and helping with the design and a couple of technical bits and bobs. Dave has tons of ideas and embodies the original ethos for the site:
The community is at the heart of the website. Posts should provide news, information, and features which help residents and those passing through Bournville to engage with their community, understand their local authority and be inspired to become active citizens working together to make a difference.
Handing over a hyperlocal site is problematic for a number of reasons. Without an already established group of contributors, the editor is still the main force for producing content and as a one-man enterprise the website is bound to inherit a large amount of their personality, interests and background. Finding a suitable new editor may be difficult if the site has been propelled by one person on a voluntary basis, especially if you want the website to retain much of it’s former ethos and aren’t too interested in profit.
I know other young journalism graduates have started hyperlocal websites while also being at the beginning of their careers when location is subject to change. The best way to prepare would be to recruit a deputy editor in the early stages of concept building.
Ed Walker, for example, had to find someone to had over Blog Preston to when he too moved to Cardiff to start his job as Online Communities Editor for Media Wales. Finding someone who has the time to take over and maintain the site with the relevant journalistic and web skills isn’t easy.
I was lucky – I know Dave will do a great job. There have already been some fantastic posts in my absence such as this snow post with a gritting priority map and Birmingham’s Poet Laureate showing his support for Bournville and some absolutely excellent coverage of the Cadbury/Kraft take over in the last week - causing a number of media organisation to get in touch for comments. I’m looking forward to seeing Bournville Village develop and grow.
Find out more about why I started the site here and on the about page on the website.