How to microblog in high heels

A geek girl's guide to social media and online engagement

How the j-school students are treading a new path

Recently, fellow j-student turned entrepreneur, Josh Halliday, wrote about how the future of local news belongs to the do-ers. A poignant piece which says, frankly, the old way just doesn’t cut it anymore, and it’s the journalism school students who are treading a new path.

Josh started SR2 Blog – the “community-run neighbourhood site” – something which got him noticed by the Guardian and Sky News among others. In his blogpost he points out those who are slow to get in step will lose out in a time when big media are seeking to snap up those in the hyperlocal know:

If you’re a trainee journalist in the UK, a hyperlocal news site is your new CV, its content is your cover letter. Here’s a real rare opportunity for your journalism to precede you [...]

Those students that do grasp the nettle will, more than ever, be best placed when graduation comes around.

In Cardiff, there’s a real feeling of a hyperlocal uprising soon to spill out onto the web scene. Cardiff Centre for Journalism Studies postgrad student Dan Bloom launched Capture Cardiff as a place for his colleagues to publish news from their patches – a great way to exhibit their skills and the site has been filled daily with some great content (frequently scooping the Cardiff Echo on a number of stories and features along with a ward/constituency boundary map).

University of Glamorgan’s j-school students Jamie Russell and Rowena Wilcox have also come up with a new venture to challenge traditional practises. Cardiff Courts sees regular updates from Crown and Mags courts – pushed through their Twitter feed (let’s just hope they were the top in their media law class when it comes to libel).

Of course there are the students from last year’s CJS running Politics Cymru. In a recent article on journalism.co.uk contributor Glyn Tansley says any students with the chance to launch their own specialist or hyperlocal sites should grab the opportunity.

We also have the only real prevalent hyperlocal news site in Cardiff Llandaff News, run by Joni Alexander – former International Journalism student at CJS – recently snapped up by Media Wales along with Ed Walker – UCLan j-school alumnus and founder of Blog Preston turned online communities editor running yourCardiff.

An article pointed out to me recently by Nick Booth highlights research showing how the internet has made it easier for people online to take part in civic and political activities – just look at the MySoc tools on the Guardian Leeds blog. Hopefully all this hyperlocal/local online reporting in Cardiff will lead to increased democratic engagement with the city – creating better access to information for citizens who care for the area and communities they live in.

It should be noted, however, some students still find this an incredibly daunting and difficult time to get into journalism. But there is also an air of excitement surrounding the possibilities for young journalists, and with big news orgs ITN, Tinopolis and UTV scouting the j-schools for recruits for their ifnc bids, hyperlocal projects such as those mentioned are going to make the savvy j-students stand out.

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Updates (Sun 21, 21:19) There is also some great stuff coming from journalism students elsewhere in the UK – as pointed out by Paul Bradshaw - ventures from his students on the MA in online journalism course at Birmingham City University should be commended for experimenting with local and hyperlocal news, such as HashBrum from Alex Gamela, Caroline Beavon and Dan Davies and GroundsBham from Andrew Brightwell as well as Birmingham Recycled. There’s plenty more interesting stuff coming from the j-school students up and down the country – this post was to point out some of the things I’ve noticed over the last few months in and around Cardiff in particular. Feel free to point out some more interesting developments you’ve seen from j-school students in your area in a comment below.

(Tues 23 18.28): Added link to article on journalism.co.uk about Politics Cymru.

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Written by hrwaldram

February 21, 2010 at 11:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. An interesting article – I too am a journalism student in Birmingham and feel as though the rise of hyperlocal platforms will provide excellent opportunities for graduates in the coming years. Not only is it good for us media types but great for local communities and a chance for non-journos to get involved and create content. I look forward to following these sites and hope to get involved with one in my local area soon.

    Kellie Maddox

    February 21, 2010 at 11:43 am

  2. Thanks for your comment Kellie and it sounds like you have some great enthusiasm for hyperlocal and local. The stuff you’re doing with Birmingham Recycled is brilliant and best of luck with it for the future.

    hrwaldram

    February 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm

  3. [...] online. It appears that there is an audience for these blogs (see the Lichfield Blog and a recent interesting blog post on hyperlocal) and that communities are becoming more interactive and involved in community-based [...]

  4. [...] How the j-school students are treading a new path « How to microblog in high heels university of Glamorgan’s j-school students Jamie Russell and Rowena Wilcox have also come up with a new venture to challenge traditional practises. Cardiff Courts sees regular updates from Crown and Mags courts – pushed through their Twitter feed (tags: hyperlocal cardiff hannahwaldram journalism journalists leeds news online) [...]

  5. [...] Other BA Journalism students to get a recent Guardian mention, as players on the new news scene, are third years Jamie Russell and Rowena Wilcox. See http://hrwaldram.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/how-the-j-school-students-are-taking-control/ [...]


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