A local police force has hailed an “historic moment” after publishing a story direct to a local newspaper website.
The move marks a significant step towards the vision of the paper’s parent company Local World to see more content generated directly by third party contributors, including public bodies.
In an internal working paper last year, LW chief executive David Montgomery said that in future the majority of newspaper content will be produced this way, with the journalist’s main role being to assemble it in “attractive formats.”
After posting the story, Torquay Police tweeted: “An Historic moment for the team. We have just published our own story directly to @TQHeraldExpress website with a picture. Amazing.”
They later tweeted their thanks to Herald Express editor Jim Parker and digital editor Guy Henderson “for taking the time to teach us plods to use it & for trusting us.”
Jim told HTFP: “I’m not sure how pioneering this is when it comes to other publishing centres doing the same thing, but it is a first for us.
“We have an extremely good working relationship with the police in our patch and this is a way of developing and cementing that relationship.
“It doesn’t mean to say we stop talking to them. Far from it. This opens up new ways of communicating and provides extra, useful content both for our website and weekly newspaper.
“It reinforces the message from Local World that organisations will self-publish – if shown how and given the opportunity – we can offer them a platform and an audience and the end result is our readers are informed.”
- Since our story was published this morning, the National Union of Journalists has voiced concern about the idea of organisations posting stories directly on to local websites, saying it will devalue journalism.
It held a meeting of its ethics council today and afterwards issued the following statement:
“The NUJ is strongly opposed to the idea of the police, or any authority or commercial organisation being able to publish directly to the local newspaper.
“It is the job of journalism, through local media, to hold local authorities, including the police, to account to local people. It is not its role to act as a conduit for the views and opinions of those authorities.
“If local authorities or the police wish to communicate directly with local people they should set up their own channels of communication.”