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Davies hits out at “spurious” local coverage of terror attack

Gareth-Davies-new-e1463476484158A former weekly chief reporter has accused local newspapers of “milking” the London terror attack by live-blogging yesterday’s incident.

Gareth Davies, left, who this week started a new job with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claimed local papers were reporting “spurious or non-existent” local angles on the tragedy.

In an outspoken series of Tweets as news of the attack spread yesterday, the former Croydon Advertiser chief reporter singled out titles in Coventry, Blackpool, Huddersfield and  Burton-on-Trent for publishing live blogs as the story unfolded.

But local press digital chiefs including Trinity Mirror’s David Higgerson defended the coverage, pointing out that many local papers would have splashed on the attacks in the days of on-day print editions.

GDliveblogging

Shortly after the attack Gareth tweeted: “As ever it’s hard, among half-news & RTs of inappropriate photos, to find a responsible/reliable account of what has happened.”

He then added: “Not helped by the rush of every local paper also reporting/live-blogging on the basis of spurious/non-existent local angles.”

Gareth went on: “This, IMO, is arguably the worst thing about the prevailing culture within UK local (& national) media – professional ambulance chasing

“Papers across the country – Coventry, Burton, Blackpool, Huddersfield – live-blogging this incident. Why? Inform readers or milk tragedy?.”

David responded: “10 years ago on day newspapers would splash on national news.”

But Gareth hit back saying: “I’ll repeat, I’m not saying don’t cover, but it doesn’t require every local paper in the country to live blog.”

Sophie Flowers digital producer at Gloucestershire Live, also took issue with Gareth, saying:  “Have to agree to disagree for once Gareth. Lots of local (not spurious) reaction in our live blog.”

Gareth responded: “With respect, and I’ve only read through once, I don’t think it adds anything meaningful to the coverage.”

However there was backing for Gareth from former Leicester Mercury feature writer Lee Marlow who tweeted:  “Yeah, it’s almost if they care more for the clicks than they do the truth.”

As reported by HTFP yesterday, the attack was witnessed by Hull Daily Mail political reporter Patrick Daly who turned round a first-person piece on it within minutes.

17 comments

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  • March 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm
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    Fine for papers to cover, but live blogs seem a bit much. What realistically would they have that Sky, BBC etc wouldn’t?

    Papers need to work on finding local angles, rather than regurgitating what’s already been put on national outlets.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm
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    Unless they have a genuine angle for a story its worth publishing. From what I saw locally, they were just re-hashing what they were either reading on the main news websites like the BBC, 24hr news channels, or the PA feed. I didn’t click any, if you want proper coverage you read websites like the BBC, I have to say Mailonline did a very good job as well.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm
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    I’m more than happy to put the boot into the clickbait culture usually but I don’t see anything wrong with live blogging it. I imagine most papers had a local angle of some kind, even if it was the view of their own area’s MP on the attack, as they’d be in a position to talk about the lay of the land down there.

    When 9/11 happened it wasn’t just reported by the New York TImes, every paper in the States had people on the ground, and rightly so.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm
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    Can’t help but agree with Gareth. Local newspaper coverage is one thing – some of it has been excellent and this is indeed a tragedy that effects us all. But live blogs where inevitably you end up harvesting content which is readily available, and done better, elsewhere is another. It is nothing but click chasing and is somewhat tasteless.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 2:19 pm
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    Become a bit of a legend in his own lunchtime this lad, hasn’t he?
    Got a view on everything.
    And still nobody cares.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm
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    Just on a tangent, my partner tells me her local weekly web, covering a patch about 400 miles from Manchester, ran a pure gossip story (which had incidentally done the rounds weeks before) about Wayne Rooney joining Everton. Desperate clickbait indeed.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm
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    I too was slightly embarassed by some of the bandwagon jumping and spurious loose connections put out by some publishers who seemed desperate to find a local angle to link to.

    I agree with Ex Buryite in believing they would be better served by covering local community news on their own patches in depth leaving this kind of national/world news to those bigger organisations who do it much better.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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    I’m sorry, but why does htfp keep running stories about this guy? I’m sure he’s a nice lad but he was chief reporter at a relatively small weekly. While that’s completely admirable and I’m sure he’s very talented, I don’t see how a very small conversation on Twitter makes this a story. I eagerly await the next instalment!

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  • March 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm
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    Local newspapers have as much right to report developing news as the nationals, especially if there’s a local angle. Of course there will be errors, because it’s ‘developing’ (duh!).
    What’s the alternative – to wait until there’s a definitive version of what happened? No such thing. Even public inquiries into scandals/tragedies demonstrate that.

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  • March 23, 2017 at 5:51 pm
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    ChrisP
    Unless there’s a hyper local angle or direct connection or it’s happening on the papers own patch this type of world event is covered far better and as it happens with live updates by the national broadcasters,its their forte and they do it very well, the two main broadcasters are the go to sources for news on the fly and the parochial papers cannot hope to compete unless it’s just to try and drive web traffic.

    When a paper miles away scrapes around to find a tenuous link,usually a ‘local’ who happened to be in the general area or someone who was there the day before and with only the weakest link possible in an attempt to get on on the act it’s seen as desperate and usually done just to attract clicks.

    If they concentrated on doing what they do well ( or used to do well) and provided a comprehensive local news service in their home territories they might be in a better position than they are now.
    When you go up against the big boys you usually get shown up for how poorly you compare, by all means cover the facts but keep it in perspective.

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  • March 24, 2017 at 10:20 am
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    So, we had two of our local MPs involved in the lockdown of Parliament, the other in St Thomas’s Hospital and a Burton boxer who actually witnessed the police officer being stabbed – is that not local news for Burton?

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  • March 24, 2017 at 10:22 am
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    Would that be ‘big boys’ like C4 who named the wrong man?

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  • March 24, 2017 at 10:56 am
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    bluestringer: no one knows who you are, or cares about your opinion either, but you are still (rightly) allowed to express it.

    The article raises valid questions, worth debating. Who is raising them isn’t the point.
    That an ad hominem post attracts 56 likes is something else worth debating, perhaps.

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  • March 25, 2017 at 10:59 am
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    Let’s see, how did we deal with it here? Texts/emails from our local MP from lock downed Parliament, calls from a local councillor evacuated from QE2 Centre and a work experience lad in the office from you’ll never guess where in Brittany who knew the school in Concarneau. And yes we updated on the old www. as events went along. Yep, I’d say we had pretty much had the local angles on it we needed so, with respect, wind yer neck in Davies.

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  • March 27, 2017 at 10:24 am
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    I don’t think anyone is knocking genuine local links as demonstrated by Burton Mail and Toggy McTogface, It is those who must get a mention of the big national story(or latest crappy gossip) on their pee poor website just for the hits. Desperate stuff indeed.

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  • March 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm
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    This man’s view is partly right and locals should have only just done a piece about their local MP’s view, local victim (of course) or some other good real local patch link.

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  • March 30, 2017 at 11:01 am
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    Interesting too the subtle shift in media from “terrorist” attack to “terror” attack. We have to beware of dressing up everything as a terrorist attack when the full facts are not known. This guy was just off his head. Even the police say on what they know so far he was not linked to any terrorist group.

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