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Archive for the ‘leeds’ tag

Taking storytelling to Blackpool, YEP revamp and digital skills summit

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Storytelling skills
Social Media Surgeon John Popham’s been on the road – this time to take storytelling ideas over to Blackpool’s business comunity.
He’s blogged:

….despite having to get up at 4am on a freezing cold morning, I really enjoyed it and was bowled over by the positive reaction.
The reaction confirmed to me that I am onto something here and that there is a real appetite to learn more about storytelling.

You can see results of the Digital Storytelling Breakfast Session” on Storify here.

Revamped YEP
The New Year’s bringing with it lots of new looks it seems. The Manchester Evening News is expected to reveal a new look website later this week and yesterday saw the new look print edition of the Yorkshire Evening Post hit the streets.

Not too much has changed – we still aim to deliver the best news and sports coverage around – but there are now even more reasons to enjoy your YEP.
As well as an array of new sections and features, there will be a special daily pull-out covering everything from fashion to football, as well as the city’s best entertainment guide.
One of the main aims behind this revamp is to make the paper more interactive, with readers’ views, photographs and stories playing a bigger role than ever before. We want to hear your views; after all, it is your paper for our city.

Hard to know how it’s been received as there are currently no comments posted – what do you think of the changes?

Diary date for digital
Prolific North announces Manchester Digital’s Skills Summit conference and TalentDay, the largest sector-specific careers fair in the north, has announced it will take place on February 20 and 21.

The event, now in its third year, brings together digital businesses, education providers and students in the region looking to enter the digital scene.TalentDay, held on February 20, is expected to attract 1,500 students looking for work within the digital and creative industries.

* Please note that this blog (and are currently in transit to their new home under the careful care of the webteam at Squegg in Stockton. You shouldn’t notice any differences but please let me know if anything appears out of sorts.

Written by sarahhartley

January 22nd, 2013 at 8:29 am

Journalism lecturer admits he was wrong,Teesside prepares to refresh and child literacy campaign in Leeds

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‘I was wrong’
Journalism lecturer Richard Horsman proves he’s big enough to admit he may have been wrong in his initial assessment of the BBC Radio England which is due to launch from Leeds next week. He blogs:

This is going to be awkward. Not as awkward as the Mayans trying to explain away January, admittedly, but still difficult……….

Being away from ‘hubs of creativity’ should bring benefits. There’ll be less temptation to recycle guests, as has been known to happen with BBC Breakfast and Five Live coming out of the same building. Producers are more likely to rub shoulders with and pick up the concerns of real  50-summat C2DE local radio listeners in Leeds bus station or Kirkgate Market, the Beeb’s immediate neighbours, than they are in Costa Coffee amid the Disneyworld perfection of Media City. So I for one am prepared to give this version of Radio England a fair chance.


Let’s get together
The north’s digital events calendar gets back to work next week with Manchester’s Social Media Cafe on Tuesday and the north east’s Refresh Teesside on Wednesday. Update Mon 7 Jan: This event has been cancelled but will be back in February.

It’s all about the community running the community. It’s always about the people. That’s why the people who do the talks are from the community. They’re all giving back to each other and working together.

Refresh Teesside organiser James Mills explains what’s behind the networking event that’s approaching its first birthday – even though it’s nearly four years old! He explains more here at Betarocket.

Wednesday’s first event of 2013 includes a talk by Charlotte Considine about the Urban Pioneers project. Book your free ticket here.

Meanwhile Smc_Mcr goes informal with a ‘simple get-together, down at The Britons Protection from 6pm onwards on Tuesday 8 Jan. Details here.


Get Leeds reading
The Yorkshire Evening Post is going to run a three month long programme in conjunction with charity Beanstalk to help primary school children with their reading.

Features editor Jayne Dawson tells HoldtheFrontPage:  “There is nothing more vital in education than learning to read, but a distressing number of children in Leeds leave their primary school without this basic skill.”

Beanstalk CEO Sue Porto say it aims to recruit 40 new Reading Helpers to double the number of children supported in Leeds from 120 to 240 and aims to raise at least £40,000.

Written by sarahhartley

January 4th, 2013 at 8:27 am

News co-ops in Leeds, tributes in County Durham and Tad Gram Style in York

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New Year, New Co-Op?
Journalist and blogger John Baron kicks off the new year with some thoughts about co-ops as a business model for a sustainable local news future.

 At Leeds Bloggers he posts:

The whole idea of a community-owned journalism outlet or model does appeal – not least it won’t be run by some of the big corporations that currently rule regional press and it seems to me at least to be an extension of the hyperlocal movement of bloggers, which is so eloquently described in Damian Radcliffe’s excellent Here and Now report for Nesta. Could mutualisation yet prove an answer?

John says he’s ‘intrigued’ by the possibility of setting one up in Leeds with journalists and/or bloggers and asks that anyone interested in having an initial discussion in  confidence to contact him at


Tributes to north east journalist
The Northern Echo reports that retired reporter Dennis Robinson, of Sedgefield, County Durham, has died at the age of 84 following a long illness.

“For six decades, he was a regular contributor to The Northern Echo and its sister publications and was happiest when covering grassroots community news.”


York’s tadgram style video viral
If you thought you could escape the Gangnam Style phenomenon with the dawning of a New Year, spare a thought for Adam Dawson who has found ‘fame’ with his spoof dance video for charity.

He tells the York Press:“It’s hard to even think of 220,000 people [who’ve viewed the clip]. To be going to the supermarket and being in the local shop and have people wanting to have their picture taken with me is surreal.”

Written by sarahhartley

January 2nd, 2013 at 8:42 am

Media ‘ignorant about the north’


Martin Wainwright

Martin Wainwright

A career spent supporting and highlighting the interests of the north is how The Guardian’s Northern editor described his work to aspiring journalists.

Martin Wainwright, who joined The Guardian in 1975, was talking to Leeds Trinity University College students at the community news hub and gave a wide-ranging overview of the industry and the many changes which he’s seen.

Taking pains to point out that he wasn’t making an “anti-London” statement, he said the problem was a metropolitan focus by the national media.

“My life purpose has been to explain the north of England through the national media. There is tremendous ignorance about life here.”

He gave examples including the coverage of the Shannon Matthews case, where the Dewsbury estate the family lived had even been compared to Beirut by some tabloid papers – a far different picture from the town Martin knows well.

The talk, in which Martin’s passion for the region (and refreshing lack of powerpoint presentation) swept the audience along, concluded with a warm welcome for the BBC’s move to Salford – a “spring of hope” in changing the media landscape for the north.

* The next speaker at the community news hub will be The Guardian’s data editor Simon Rogers. Updates and details about all the activities at the hub can be followed here.


Regular readers of The Guardian will be familiar with Martin’s regular updates at The Northerner – an online and email subscription round-up of news snippets from across the north of England. I was very pleased to be able to produce the digest this week for the first time (you can read that here). Martin is introducing other authors to contribute as well as inviting reader input on how it should develop in future.

If you have any opinions or comments to make on the subject, please feel free to add them in the comments below and I’ll pass them on.

Written by sarahhartley

January 13th, 2011 at 8:12 am

Starting a community news hub


“Collaborative journalism is a mode of journalism where multiple reporters or news organizations, without affiliation to a common parent organization, report on and contribute news items to a news story together. It is practiced by both professional and amateur reporters.

Well that’s how wikipedia describes it and it was this definition I mentioned yesterday at the launch of the Leeds Community News Hub.

communitynewshubposterThe event at Leeds Trinity University College marked the start of new initiative I’m involved in as part of The Guardian Local project.

The idea of the hub is a simple one – to provide a physical space where people can do journalism together.

Those people could be local community activists, they could be bloggers, they could be students, cleaners, entrepreneurs or business owners and they could also be reporters, journalism students, photographers or broadcasters from local media organisations or freelancers.

This is a hub for anyone interested in local news for Leeds – not a space owned or operated by The Guardian, instead a hosted space for the benefit of the local community where knowledge, expertise and skills can be accessed.

As one of the participants, I’ve invited some Guardian colleagues to give talks or hold workshops in the space and the special launch event was a talk by GNM’s head of digital engagement Meg Pickard – a leading thinker when it comes to online communities.

(The hashtag for the day was #LeedsCNH and there was plenty of Twitter commentary of the talk if you want to recap on what was said.)

It was an inspiring talk and followed by some equally interesting conversations during the tea break……and that’s a great starting point for any journalist, seeing people face-to-face and hearing about their stories and the issues of concern locally.


Time for tea

Working out how to engage with local communities in a meaningful way is something I’m learning about it all the time and, while I’m sure there’s no single solution, an approach which encompasses both on, and off, line is intended to increase accessibility.

While creating online spaces for that activity, developing tools, apps and widgets to help people reveal their stories or unearth facts will undoubtedly continue to have an important role, I’m hopeful that enabling people to connect face-to-face and work on stories together will also lead to exciting, innovative collaborations going forward.

The Leeds Community News Hub is based at Leeds Trinity University College, map location here. There are signs to mark its location being installed and reception staff are able to help. A blog to share some of the activities being undertaken at the hub is on its way and I’d be interested to hear any other ideas of the best way to keep people in the loop. A variety of different people will be on hand to help those looking to take part in projects or simply pass on information on a one-off basis – a visit to the hub doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment.

Guardian Leeds beatblogger John Baron will be based there at regular intervals and we’ll post those dates on the blog.

I shall be working at the hub next Wednesday so feel free to drop by to talk with me in person – or leave a comment online below.

Written by sarahhartley

November 18th, 2010 at 10:17 am

Talk About Local and Guardian Local Unconference award winners


and the winner’s were……….

The following publishers of hyperlocal blogs, journalists and data junkies received (un)awards at an (un)glittering ceremony held down the pub following yesterday’s (un)conference.

While the light-hearted prizes themselves (including a broken walking stick, mugs and a very fetching plastic Marilyn) may be relatively worthless, the reasons for the awards, and the sincerity behind acknowledging achievement in these areas, shouldn’t be diminished.

The awards which were presented – with typical aplomb – by William Perrin from TAL were;

I was very happy to handover the following awards to people who have made a significant contribution in their area;

  • Most Inspirational site went to Josh Halliday for firing up young journalists with his doorstep project SR2.
  • Best local special interest website Greener Leith for its dedication to the local environment north of the border.
  • Best use of video East Salford direct tv - not just because there’s a general shortage of Mancunians in loud shirts on mainstream telly, but also because they do, as they say ‘ride the recession like a Blackpool donkey!’
  • Best use of a map – Openly Local for the hyperlocal map which tracks us all.
  • Best council coverage for PitsnPots by Tony Walley and Mike Rawlins for the site’s dogged Stoke City council coverage.

The awards finished a day which saw independent publishers coming from as far north as Edinburgh, as far south as the Isle of Wight and as far west as Cardiff.

It was a day of intelligent conversation, debate and lively catch-up. You can re-cap on the debates at the liveblog from myself and the beatbloggers here;

And I’ve already spotted these different takes on the event too;

Plus I’ve started this Twitter list of all those who attended if you’re missing, please do let me know.

Finally, there’s a few people I wanted to say a public thank you to for making the event run so smoothly – Linda and Holly at ntiLeeds, the entire TAL team and finally, let’s not forget the foodies, Bagel Nash, Leeds for a splendid lunch spread.

Invitations to debate journalism and hyperlocal

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A couple of events coming up which I’m involved in over the next couple of weeks and which I’d like to share with you, and pass on invitations.

* First up, as part of this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival I’ll be joining the Daily Record’s Iain Hepburn (@iainmhepburn), The Guardian’s Martin Belam (@currybet), along side Dundee based gaming expert Brian Baglow (@flackboy) to discuss the varied challenges and opportunities facing journalists in this modern media landscape.In a panel debate (chaired by The Guardian’s Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell ), we’ll discuss some of the trends, tools and technologies which are shaping journalism in the digital age. I believe it’s the first time the festival has incorporated journalism into the programme and it promises to be a lively debate from 4-5pm on Sunday, April 11.
Tickets, £7 / £5 student, are available at, from the booking hotline on 0131 553 0322 or at the box office at the Edinburgh Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile.

* The following weekend, it’s time for the Talk About Local and Guardian Local Unconference. In it’s second year, this day of talking hyperlocal booked out within hours of the tickets being made available. (However, I snuck a few back so if you’re really desperate to get in to the Leeds event, let me know why and I’ll see what I can do on a first come, first served basis). As last year, the agenda for the day will be decided by those attending. I’m looking forward to seeing what issues and concerns are raised at the event….as well as blogging, of course!
Follow the day’s proceedings on Saturday, April 17 using the Twitter hashtag #TAL10

Written by sarahhartley

April 6th, 2010 at 11:24 am

Ooops! I’ve been censored


Now I know what it feels like to be moderated. And it feels strange.

In many years of commenting on blogs and websites, I don’t think I’ve ever fallen foul of someone’s social media policy.

I could understand if I’d been ranting, using foul language, making libellous accusations or any number of things that I’ve suspended reader’s comments for on newspaper websites.

But I’m at something of a loss about where I’ve slipped up here by posting the following wording onto this article (using my full name and The Guardian as location);

Hi, am interested to see you feature this story but thought it might be helpful to point out to your readers that the ban did not only apply to councillors, but also to members of the press and public who may have wanted to communicate matters of interest from what was this very important meeting. As you maybe aware from our coverage last week, our own journalist in Leeds, beatblogger John Baron who tweets @GdnLeeds, was also prevented from updating our readers.

Hopefully we can work together to ensure the freedom to cover important events like this in the future.

Revisiting the page, I see that’s been removed and in its place, in very schoolteacher-ish red font, are the words “comment reported unsuitable by user”.

Did I miss the clause in the TsandCs about not joining the conversation and sending messages to fellow journalists over an issue of shared concern?

Written by sarahhartley

March 4th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

First came surgeons. Then a train. Now, is Tuttle about to start in Leeds?


The social media scene in Leeds is starting 2010 with a busy diary – and a possible new group for the city.

Some of the keen-eyed Leeds tweeters and bloggers have been in touch about the arrival of this Ning, exploring the idea of a Tuttle for Leeds.

Tuttle is the name given to the club which originated in London and which the Manchester Social Media Cafe (which I’m involved with) is also affiliated to.

The idea of Tuttle is to bring people with an interest in social media together, but, unlike more tightly defined groups which concentrate on specific interests or skills, it has no particular remit and definitely no ‘membership’ criteria – interest, passion or merely vague curiosity is enough.

As the Tuttle for Leeds Ning’s founder, York-based James Hester explains;

“Tuttle is open to everyone. Absolutely everyone. It is a place where anyone active in/interested in social media and its wondrous possibilities in helping people to come together and exchange ideas to meet up off-line, chat, make plans, have a drink and, most importantly, have fun. The location will have free Wi-Fi, so feel free to bring your tech of choice along and blog while you’re there.”

So there’s the invitation – sign up at the Ning here and join the first debate about venue. I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads, Leeds!

Other social media events coming up;

* The second Social Media Surgery will be taking place Thursday 21st January, 5:30-7pm at the Round Foundry in Holbeck Urban Village.  if you want an idea of what goes on, here’s a look back at the first event of this format at the end of last year.

* The Social Media Train will set out from Sheffield on February 10th. Read more about this unusual travel meets unconference here.

Written by sarahhartley

January 7th, 2010 at 7:57 am

Musings on the week: A north-south social media divide?



Inside #1pound40

Two very different experiences this week have had me musing on whether there’s a north-south divide in how social media is used.

Looking first at the #1pound40 event in London. It was an intriguing concept – for just £1.40, the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas with some of the leading lights of the social media UK whirl.

There were Tuttlers, journalists and broadcasters; there were geeks, students and marketing types; the venue was impressive (Reuters in the Daily Planet like environs of Canary Wharf) and the whole event had an air of expectation.

Something was going to happen. SOMETHING IMPORTANT.

So, a couple of days later, why do I still have this niggling feeling that, if something did happen, I must have missed it?

Perhaps this feeling was in part provoked by my experience the night before at Leeds Social Media Surgery.


Leeds surgeons

The surgery was an opportunity for charities and not-for-profits to come and find out about social media and see if it could help them in their work. I spent the evening talking about blogging with a woman who wants to provide the opportunity for interaction via a blog for workers in the mental health sector, as well as hearing about an impassioned campaign to help Palestinians where I was able to offer some basic advice about libel. In this setting, the social media tools were just that – tools to be utilised as part of a wider aim.

Back to London and what was described as ‘a curated unconference’, the purpose of our gathering was to explore issues raised by social media – questions such as if Twitter was a force for good, whether journalism was being democratised by the tools of web 2.0 and my old favourite – who can be called, or call themselves, a journalist?

Unlike other ‘unconference’ events I’ve been to, there were no sessions or pitches and instead small groups at tables discussed the issues between themselves before sharing their individual pithy conclusions via Twitter.

(As an aside, oddly for an event which ended up being monopolised by talk about Twitter, the backchannel wasn’t always in evidence – in fact when it was projected behind the panel at the end of the event it proved to be such a novel intervention that it completely distracted both panelists and audience!)

As the sessions concluded I took stock – had I learned anything? No. Had I contributed to anyone else learning anything? No.

It felt like we were all saying the same thing, speaking the social media speak. The digerati in full flow – agreeing with one another.

Some of the topics touched upon digital inclusion and the potential for political engagement through social media, but while we were talking, tweeting and pontificating, who was actually listening? What do the views of a bunch of always-on wired meeja professionals in London have to do with delivering news and information services to people working in tough but essential spheres such as the mental health sector, or living in areas where broadband access is still an aspiration not a reality?

That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable event – I caught up with some people I haven’t seen in a while, put some faces to Twitter avatars and met some completely new people I’m sure I’ll enjoy following. As a meet-up, it was most conducive.

But all in all, for me at least, it was an afternoon inside the echo chamber, the reverberations of which will probably not even reach Islington, let alone Leeds.

There’s some other coverage of these two events that I’ve seen, as follows;

* The Guardian’s Mercedes Bunz gamely attempted a live blog of #1pound40 here and here.
* Leeds Social Media Surgery organiser John Popham summed up the evening here.
* The echo chamber is one of the topics which Christian Payne (AKA @documentally) also discusses in this audioboo which considered the psychology of Twitter.
* The Business Two Zero blog discusses the £1.40 event and also provides plenty of links to other views from the day.