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#bfong: Jo Wadsworth, Brighton Argus, on community correspondents and local blogs

Tonight I’m at the Brighton branch meet-up of the Future of News Group (organised by my colleague at Journalism.co.uk @jtownend). I’m going to liveblog the speakers here, so will be updating posts on the speakers – Jo Wadsworth from the Brighton Argus and Simon Willison from the Guardian.

Here’s Jo on building a network of community correspondents and bloggers for a local newspaper and website:
Why have community correspondents?
Not only to give space to community correspondents but to be a different way of being a forum for debate.

Who are the community correspondents?
People already involved in community groups; people already publishing elsewhere; aspiring reporters (Journalist Works’ students from last six months); from later this month all the PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) in Brighton.
People with longevity = people already involved in community groups.

Who are the bloggers?
Different group from community correspondents; media professionals looking for a different creative outlet; aspiring writers; experts.

Not replacing professional journalism.
Should make ourselves a platform for them to do it – or it will happen somewhere else and that’s not to say we don’t encourage/acknowledge people who doing it elsewhere.
Solving the “pothole paradox” – community correspondents solves the issue of readers interested in specific local issues.
Allows the Argus to stay relevant.

A ready-made audience with technical support and legal advice.
Esteem – Wadsworth says she underestimated this at first.

Lessons learned

Have to give people feedback.
Turnover will always be high – e.g. you’ll always get a lot of “restaurant reviewers” applying to blog for you.
Have more than one community correspondent covering each patch if you can.
Constant recruitment to let people know that the resource exists and how they can get involved.


3 Responses

  1. […] colleague Laura Oliver live-blogged some notes from our Brighton event, which featured the Argus online editor, Jo Wadsworth and the Guardian’s software architect, […]

  2. […] Oliver provides excellent coverage of both speakers which you can read here and […]

  3. […] Oliver, editor of Journalism.co.uk also blogged about Jo Wadsworth’s and Simon Willison’s presentations, as did John […]

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