Councillors, police chiefs and other ‘approved’ people are being allowed to upload pieces straight to some newspaper websites without being moderated first, it has emerged.
Local World weeklies the Essex Chronicle and Tamworth Herald have both published articles in the past week calling for readers to join the team and start writing and taking photos for them, “cutting out the middle man” by allowing them to upload directly online.
It is part of a drive by bosses to encourage the community to ‘join in’ with producing their local paper, including giving certain people permission to make their copy live without the need for a reporter or editor to read it first.
Andy Phelan, head of content for Local World’s transformation team, told HTFP that pre-vetted contributors such as councillors, policemen and teachers who have agreed to write blogs for the paper would be allowed to upload stories which would be published immediately, while others will go into a queue to be checked by moderators before going live.
Said Andy: “It is about creating a community, encouraging our readers to share their news and views, for us to be at the centre of all that.
“It’s not a one-way street anymore, social media means anyone can publish anything, anywhere at anytime. This just reflects that.
“The role of journalists and journalism doesn’t fundamentally change, they will still highlight the important things that they believe others should see but the community now has the chance and is encouraged to join in.”
In an editorial piece, the Herald urges people to be their “eyes and ears” on the streets, admitting that it “can’t be everywhere at once.”
The paper is offering an iPad Mini to tempt new contributors in, with the prize going to the best story at the end of the year.
“We want our readers, both online and in print, to be the best informed in the county,” he said.
“By allowing our readership to share news with each other directly on our website and by cutting out the middle man, we hope to make our website a community portal for everything happening locally.”
The best stories from the online contributors will feature in the print edition, he added.