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Archive for the ‘talkaboutlocal’ tag

Presentation at Society of Editors: Being local in a mobile first world

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I was recently invited to talk to regional editors at a Society of Editors conference held in the Midlands. It covers a couple of the major projects we’ve been working on at Talk About Local which are all about using mobile technologies to explore useful community information.

The first example is an Augmented Reality prototype we’ve been developing which means publishers of any size – from solo bloggers to news organisations – can easily move geo-tagged content into an AR environment.

The second is the ongoing evolution of the geo-tagged, mobile first suite of publishing tools n0tice and the launch of its whitelabelling service.

It’s a mark of the fast-changing pace of these sort of technologies that this slideshow was already outdated within a day of me presenting it. In terms of publishers using AR, The Independent last week launched its innovative use of the technology. Talk About Local’s William Perrin reviews that here: and in the video at the end of the page.

When it comes to the n0tice development, the day after the presentation saw a major launch for the technology when Guardian Witness went live. Obviously I couldn’t mention this to the editors at the time for risk of spoiling the announcement from Joanna the GW team, but the full details of how publishers can now use these powerful geo-tagged tools for their own products are here:

Written by sarahhartley

April 28th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Presentation: Augmented Reality for journalists and bloggers

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This is the presentation I rather rushed through in the two minutes alloted at the News Rewired event in London yesterday. It really wasn’t long enough to go into any details about the Talk About Local project to experiment with public service content in the augmented reality environment so see below for some links for more info.

Slides 2 and 3: Ar selling sofas with CSL
Slides 4 and 5: Heinz prompts a recipe book using ingredient.
Slides 6 – 10: mainstream publishing using AR from News International.
Slides 11 – 15: What the Talk About Local project looks like in the AR layer.

After producing and testing the prototype to to feed hyperlocal content into the AR environment, the work with Talk About Local continues to expand this further to help people achieve an easy to use and low cost solution.

Progress and further information is available at the project blog here: is featuring AR at this week’s podcast which inlcudes an interview with me about Talk About Local’s work and also representatives from The Times, the LA Times and The Telegraph.

Written by sarahhartley

December 7th, 2012 at 10:52 am

A mini series of hyperlocal success case studies

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Last updated: Jan 17

One of the great things about working with Talk About Local is meeting so many enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate people who run hyperlocal websites and blogs.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share some of those stories on the TAL blog and I’ll link to them here as well.

The first one I published today looks at the work of Annette Albert in the W14 postcode area of London. She reports from and campaigns for that area tirelessly but doesn’t consider what she does to be journalism.

2. Creating a village in Caldmore – how the Caldmore Village Festival team re-invented an area of Walsall.

3. Trumpeting the success of The Crickdale Bugle - some of the daily dilemmas faced by a one-man band publisher in Wiltshire.

4. Creating a living archive in Wolverton – the challenges for volunteers in sorting, understanding, digitising and archiving donated community material.

5. Shining a light on the democratic process in Kington – how a dispute over Christmas lights ended up shaping the make-up of a council.

Written by sarahhartley

January 3rd, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Things to do before 2011 ends: 1. Fewer twitter accounts

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The end of the year is always a good opportunity for a bit of a sort out in the blog, social media department so I have a bit of a ‘to do’ list to get through in readiness for a fresh start for 2012.

First up – cut down on the number of twitter accounts to manage. So, I shall stop tweeting @localsarah and instead continue on @foodiesarah. Maintaining a division of twitter activity between things of hyperlocal, community interest and items about journalism became something of a false division in the end.

I’d like to invite all the followers @localsarah to come along on the journey to @foodiesarah as there will be a lot of hyperlocal related activity going on in the New Year as I take on my new responsibilities at Talk About Local.

To start things off I’ve created this list of hyperlocal blogs and websites - if you belong on here, please tweet me.

Written by sarahhartley

December 18th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Fairydust, forensics and funding: Hyperlocal success at #TAL11


The third annual Talk About Local unconference event for independent website operators and bloggers wrapped up last night with the now much anticipated awards ceremony to celebrate the year’s achievement in the hyperlocal sphere.

It’s a tongue in cheek affair complete with prizes of no-value (oven glove anyone?) and categories which myself and the TAL team make-up on the night.

But it’s far from worthless.

Underneath the hilarity and general piss-taking, this yearly opportunity to acknowledge some of the remarkable work being done by bloggers up and down the UK in some ways shows just how difficult it is to measure success in this area.

The standard metrics we use for media measure often just don’t fit.

How do you measure online activity that has prompted neighbours to start talking and organise a litter clear up campaign? Counting page impressions doesn’t tell that story.

Or the tireless efforts of dogged council reporting in the face of uncooperative press offices? Dwell time’s fairly irrelevant.

Or the hosting of business pages which means every single trader in a small town is connected and hooked up to provide offers on a Facebook community page? Week on week percentage revenue rise doesn’t come close to the value of that.

So while the measures are ridiculous, they are also a stark reminder that this is an environment where the rules are different.

Here’s my priceless picks which involved journalism in the hyperlocal space;

  • The toy medical kit award for forensic work – the tireless VentnorBlog bloggers for their council reporting work which this year included this simple but transparent spreadsheet to show live updates of how votes were cast.
  • Sprinkling fairydust in an urban environment – this went to one of my Guardian Local staff, beatblogger Hannah Waldram to recognise the work she’s been doing engaging with communities in Cardiff.
  • Hottest story of the year – the oven glove of success will be worn this year by Richard from SaddleworthNews for his work on the Phil Woolas story.
  • The mythical unicorn of co-operation – goes to the Birmingham Mail for their work to collaborate with bloggers in that city to produce news content.
  • The site with balls – Manchester-based InsidetheM60 received a fetching pair for their dogged fight for independent journalism.
  • And finally the overall winner is just that. The BlogPreston team, Andy Halls, Joseph Stashko and Ed Walker will have to share a small reporter’s notebook in recognition of some great work this year, most notably incorporating social media elements in fresh new ways and being successful in a bid for Nesta funding which will mean they can increase their involvement in the community there.

Well done to all! See you next year.

If you’ve blogged about this event, please do share the link in the comments below.

Slideshow of pictures from the events.

Written by sarahhartley

April 3rd, 2011 at 9:22 am

London Neighbourhoods Online unconference 2010: Thoughts


Update19.35: There’s now links to three other blog posts from the unconference posted into the comments at the bottom of this post which are well worth checking out, plus;
* The Twitter hating grumpy view from Erith posted in the brilliantly named Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich and said: “found the whole experience to be excellent, informative, entertaining and it also enabled me to meet and network with some friendly and like – minded people” and proves to be a man after my own heart by dedicating a good chunk of his write up to the catering.
* Networked Neighbourhoods says “the message is that the momentum behind the neighbourhoods online movement is gathering pace”.

A few notes inspired by yesterday’s London Neighbourhoods Unconference. The nature of an unconference means several sessions were underway at any one time so a full view of the day needs a little piecing together.

I’ll add links to blog posts on the topic as I see them – please do let me know if you’ve written one or seen one anywhere by dropping the link via the comments below to share with other interested parties.

I should just add that these are my notes and thoughts and not a report of proceedings. Feel free to pitch in with your comments/recollections/thoughts.

  1. The session I offered on working with mainstream media was lively. I listened….. and what I heard was some understandable cynicism towards the attitude and motivation of big media. Following on from the previous post, we did discuss as many of those topics as we could in the time with the majority of the conversations prompted by; ‘lifted’ content, payment, linking and copyright. (We didn’t get time for ‘newspaper structure’ which some people were interested in and so I’ll maybe return to that in a future post). On the hot topic of lifting content ie. where newspapers had used text and/or pictures without any permission, attribution or payment. As I mentioned at the session, this is the exact same accusation I often hear levelled about bloggers and hyperlocal website operators from newspaper journalists(!), so maybe time for a bit of reflection in this matter. Time to play nice. Show some respect on both sides before the opportunities this new news ecosphere presents retreat into a sea of resentments.
  2. Next up I bobbed into the discussion about Local TV. This was led around a conversation about whether the right course of action is to send a letter to lobby culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure that community television ventures are not sidelined. (To put this discussion into context, worth reading the recently released Ofcom Public service Broadcasting Annual Report ). The debate in this session raised the question about whether grant support i.e. tax payer’s money was a reasonable expectation for such ventures or whether projects needed to be commercially viable from self-generated revenue streams such as advertising. It struck me that this ‘future of local tv’ debate gets hung up on traditional delivery mechanisms in the way that the ‘future of journalism’ debates get hung up on print. And quickly to a deep niche (hyper) V mass audience (general) discussion. Sparked a thought about about scaleable hyper? It was interesting to see StvLocal represented at the event – maybe the StvLocal model is a disruptive model to shake telly things up?
  3. Big Society. What does it mean? I still don’t know how it relates. Answer on a postcard – or this pigeon might be more appropriate.

Other links I’ve seen on this event;

The hashtag for any other material published is #lno10. I’m looking forward to catching up with the other blog posts and pictures as the day progresses.

Big Chip Awards 2010 shortlist released

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The Big Chip Awards has this morning announced its shortlisted entries – see the full list here.

Some great projects named in there and selected from a record number of entries according to orgnaisers with 257 entriesreceived from 138 companies, freelancers and organisations.

The 2010 awards will take place again at the Palace Hotel Manchester on 10 June.

A couple of other snippets of Manchester digital news from this week in case you’ve missed;

  • Hyperlocal news service for Greater Manchester, InsidetheM60 launched this week. Looks like Nigel and Louise have their hands full of elections at the moment!
  • I was very happy to announce that East Salford Direct have been awarded for their use of video. They were honoured at an award ceremony following the Talk About Local and Guardian Local unconference held in Leeds at the weekend – my full report here.

Written by sarahhartley

April 22nd, 2010 at 11:16 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.

Journalists? Bloggers? Citizens? Who are these people?


Talking about local

Talking about local

This weekend’s first unconference event for those running local community websites raised some fascinating issues – not least in areas of ethics and access.

Bringing together people from across the UK to share skills, knowledge and experience meant Talk About Local 09 quickly revealed some of the issues for these self-publishers, community activists, bloggers and journalists.

And how these people are considered lies at heart of these issues – what do we call someone who’s taken it on themselves to start a website for the local community and how should they be treated?

It was clear from listening to their experiences that there’s no consensus on this.  At the one extreme, local councils had denied access and even been accused of making late-night pressuring calls to remove material, while at the other end of the scale, some more enlightened council press officers treated the new news sources in the same way as the established local newspaper.

As I pointed out in The Guardian piece on this issue, the governing body the National Association for Local Authorities is reviewing its stance, but one thing’s for sure, the authorities are not moving quickly enough to properly reflect the reality of the changed local news landscape.

One of the participants in Saturday’s event thinks the issue is one of perception of who brings ‘the truth’, as a posting on the blog Culturing Stuff says;

“Just lately it seems as though every institution we hold dear, has some kind of skeletal defect waiting to be discovered if we decide to open the cupboard door. So with this in mind let’s revert back to the point… How come blogging is blogging and the news is THE NEWS (all official and truthful) and is Bloggin seen as a lesser being, just because the format has no established rules or code of conduct?”

All this appears to lead us back to one of the debates circulating last week about transparency and it is perhaps that, in the end, which will provide the measure of whether something is regarded as credible or truthful by the authorities currently keeping the gate of information sources.

Any journalists – or council press officers – want to comment?

* See more pictures at the Flickr pool for Tal09 and dip into the day’s debates with this Tweetdoc.

Written by sarahhartley

October 5th, 2009 at 8:08 am