A regional daily newspaper mounted a major digital operation to ensure its readers were given full coverage of budget cuts made by nine councils within 48 hours.
Journalists from the Manchester Evening News and its weekly sister titles have carried out live blogging from each of the nine budget meetings held by local authorities from Tuesday to Thursday this week.
Live blogs were created for each reporter on the paper’s website using CoveritLive and so they could tweet regular updates from the meetings.
The paper covers 15 councils in total and the budget cuts agreed by the nine authorities in the last few days, which have included job losses and reductions in services, will affect nearly 1.8m people in Greater Manchester.
Paul Gallagher, head of online content at MEN Media, said: “As you can imagine, this is quite a big operation in terms of manpower and production – all but one of the meetings is in the evening – but this is part of our continuing and unrivalled commitment to report the full details of the public spending cuts to our readers.”
The first of the councils to set its budget was Tameside, where cuts of £35m with the loss of 600 jobs were discussed.
Other authorities where journalists used Twitter to report from were Rochdale, Oldham, Rossendale, Bolton, Bury, Trafford, Cheshire East and Stockport.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles has this week called on councils to allow bloggers and citizen journalists the same access to council meetings as mainstream media, saying videoing and tweeting should be allowed to boost transparency.