Rebuilding the online local story – MA by practice (Final project)

(Above, previous work editing a Birmingham Mail’s story)

My proposal for MA by practice consists of creating a prototype of how online local story must be. This prototype is based on a deep report in which I will analyse how the current local news site are managing their resources to produce stories and what content they are offering to their audiences. So, I will deliver these two main things:

  • Local story made of interactive content and using a language and content based in my report
  • Report on current situation of local news sites, analysing strengths and weaknesses, and also checking out what new trends work in news, trying to answer the question: “How is the real native online story?”

Working with a professional framework

I am trying to give a professional framework to my prototype, to do so, I will involve a news site that which already exists. This would add real information on what resources are available, improving the quality of my report and also the prototype itself.

In the prototype, I will include “low-cost” interactive content and multimedia, with the aim to demonstrate that building the news of tomorrow is not expensive and exclusive. Nowadays, practices as data journalism, interaction, visualisations and mobile journalism become democratic in order to improve the content produced by journalists. I will also explore the coding world to demonstrate that journalists can use it.

CLICK to see how much time left I have.

CLICK to see how much time left I have (made with JavaScript)

Further information – What is my approach like?

My approach to this final project consists in two backbones: theory and practice. So during the first phase, I will gather as much information as I can in order to elaborate a report. I count now with many sources related to new ways of communication and journalism in local journalism, but also I will compile information from the main local news site which work in the UK to detect mistakes but also good practices.

Later in this part, I will have a look to concepts such as CRAP (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity), how the story is showed, how the user’s view works (EyeTrack), inverted pyramid in online news, multimedia offer in local stories, interactivity and social media usage on news.

I am also improving my knowledge in JavaScript and jQuery. The technical part of this project depends on my own learning process dealing with language coding.

But, what will I do after getting better on coding? I will elaborate a local story using my knowledge and working from the field but also gathering data through data sets, FOI requests and other additional resources I have learned to use during all this process.


My BCU Enterprise Module’s project: AngryTips

What is AngryTips?

AngryTips is a video producer company. Its aim is to produce tutorial videos about local online tools which young people can find useful for their daily routines.

Things as knowing what the city council offers, booking a public court or taking advantage of local information apps angryTipsLogo3circnuevonoviabout city’s events.

Targeted at UK’s teenagers who are about 16-18 years old – Education Key stage 4 or 5 – .

Not only the teaching goal is important, but also the way of communicate the content. So, videos will be done throughout a ‘youtuber’ style.

What is this? In short, a presenter in front of a camera following a funny script: simple, dynamic and fresh.

Who are the customers? Well, this idea is available to public institutions, but also for associations or private companies which share the same achievements. According to our philosophy, we treat our public as clients (“The customer is always right”)

Very important people: my audience

The goal is to improve the teenagers’ local Media literacy, from each city of the UK.  The Center for Media Literacy, an american educational organisation that provides resources nationally and internationally, define this concept as:

“With media technology becoming so prevalent in homes, and with multi-media education more possible now with student access to computers and the Internet, “media literacy” expands the basic concept of literacy (i.e. “reading” and “writing”) to all forms of communication — from television to T-shirts, from billboards to multimedia environments.”

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-09 a la(s) 22.35.25

Click on the graph to see more

Nowadays, figures reveal very high levels on digital devices and apps’ usage in the UK. According to Ofcom research Basis (Q1 2014), the highest score at Digital confidence score belongs to 14-15s old group (113), followed by the 16-19s old (112) youngsters.

That numbers say that these people absorb a huge number of data through the new technologies. Therefore, there are important reasons to increase the education on this field.

During a weekly day, they spend the eight per cent of their time watching  short online vide clips, round eight-times more than the rest of age groups.

At the same time, they occupate the last position on watching live TV – 50%-.

Teenagers use apps and social networks as well, but also apps related to local services?

An Ipsos Mori report, targeting mixed age groups, said about citizen’s online habits and attitudes in 2013:

“Although people did not regularly access online information about their local council, such as recycling arrangements, they often found it difficult to suggest alternative ways of obtaining such information.”

Many national reports and surveys consider 16-years-old as adults, complicating the segmentation.

How to engage teenagers is probably the most difficult question. Trying to find the answer, I talked with professionals who usually work with young people.

Sky News Programmes Producer Tom Platt is now working on Stand Up Be Counted, a new platform for young people from 16 to 25 years old, in which they can share their own contents related to news and also interact with the TV channel.

Platt is satisfied with the receiption among the youngsters, he also reminds that these people are not only interested on entertainment contents, as many people say.

Birmingham, The Second City, is the place where AngryTips launches its first videos, a collection called ‘Online Brummies’. There are more than 40,000 teenagers between 15 and 19 years old, according to the 2012 mid-year population estimate.

Due to its online tools, (just below) is a good start to explore the ‘youtuber’ style.

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-05 a la(s) 19.54.32

Beatfreeks is an non-profit organisation for young people launched one year ago in Birmingham, which offers creative academies about music, Media or Enterprise, with the aim of encourage brummies to produce social benefits. Therefore, they share a similar goal with AngryTips.

Paul Stringer is working there. For him, the hardest part is to encourage youngsters to make a step forward.

But what do youngsters really think?

I found some answers during the Concrete Collective, an event about young people, activism and Media based on workshops, which took place one week ago. It seems that new apps and digital tools are filling the gap between the teenagers and their communities.

Bit of News is a good example of how youngsters can be interested on ‘serious things’. This company compiles news content for them. They have already 20,000 subscribers to date.

Curtis Wang and Xiao Xu, founders of Bit of News, were interviewed by AngryTips

 Speaking seriously: business plan

I see many strengths on this project, and also little weaknesses. Here they go:


Yes, it must be completed. That is the reason I also used The Business Model Canvas…

… And asked to Lemonade TV director and The Guardian‘s media commentator,  Faraz Oxman.