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Journalist to give politicians lesson in social media

A journalist is to give advice to a local authority on how it could better support reporters using social media.

Nicola Hyde, a reporter for community news website, wrote a story about Barnsley Council’s annual budget which prompted a debate and 500 comments from concerned locals who came up with their own ideas for change.

Following the story council chiefs have invited Nicola to take part in an upcoming scrutiny meeting as an expert witness.

The site has a strong social media audience with over 20,000 fans on Facebook and 4.4 million post views a month to join in the debate.

Said Nicola: “To be asked to be an expert witness is flattering – but I’m more interested in how journalism is changing and how we have to change ourselves to adapt to our audience’s expectations.”

Nicola has been a reporter for 13 years – previously working for the Barnsley Chronicle and as a news editor for Script Media – and was given responsibility for building We Are Barnsley in 2009.

Since then it launched its own radio station, found a local lottery winner through its Facebook posts and drew attention from the Home Office when Nicola presented a live video broadcast with police chiefs that locals could join in on by leaving comments on Facebook, Twitter and the website in real time.

Added Nicola: “I’d been a print journalist for many years before I started on We Are Barnsley – but writing for that website is a totally different kettle of fish.

“I love it, we’ve fostered a strong and loyal community. But it is very demanding and – in fact – our users expect answers instantly on a wide variety of questions. We’ve become not just a news site, but an information portal and one where thousands of people join in daily debating all the news and telling us what’s going on.”




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  • February 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    All very interesting but who – or what – pays Nicola’s wages? Is it a business forum, state-aided in some way?

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  • February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Exactly what I was thinking … yet another super duper hyperlocal website with sod-all advertising.

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