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New hyperlocal site is student journalist’s ‘living CV’

A student journalist has launched a hyperlocal website for former mining communities in Durham, describing it as his ‘living CV.’

James Bailey, who is studying a BA in news journalism at the University of Sunderland, started Easington Hewer last month as part of his studies after spotting what he saw as a gap in the market.

The aim of the site, which is still under development, is to provide readers with an experience unattainable through local and regional newspapers, regional television bulletins or regional radio broadcasts.

James said he felt that starting up his own hyperlocal website made sense due to the lack of journalism jobs currently available in the industry.

He told HTFP:  “I could have created a newspaper or magazine or series of articles, but by setting up my own website I got round the limitations of printing costs and distribution as well has competing for article publication.

“The journalism industry is at a crossroads now – much like the book and the tablet reader – where more and more emphasis is being put on digital content, digital skills and digital platforms. By combining the hyperlocal market and the emphasis on digital I’ve created a ‘living’ CV.

He added: “Overall I think there will be a continued advance in online news content, especially with the rise of the smart phone, tablets and ‘apps’.

“There’s a bit of a generation gap to go between the current media establishment and the up and coming graduates

“Until the time comes for the existing establishment to be replaced, journalism graduates and those freelancing too should certainly invest in online news, whether that be in hyperlocal news or an interest they have, so they can sharpen their skills and polish their CV.”

James launched the site for those areas of the North East in order for them to communicate through the local press as he felt other media outlets didn’t have the resources for readers to do so.

However, he adds that it is aimed at supplementing the content of existing media outlets reporting on East Durham rather than competing with them.



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  • February 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Just some constructive criticism for James.

    If it’s your living CV it might be worth spending a few bob hiring a designer to tidy the site up a bit, the logo looks a bit 90’s.

    Also on your top level nav there is nothing on features and events and reviews and nothing on your meet the team page.

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  • February 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    “James said he felt that starting up his own hyperlocal website made sense due to the lack of journalism jobs currently available in the industry.”

    Sorry, am I missing something here? However great this is, and I don’t mean to knock the website as such, but without a single advert, this is not a journalism job – it’s a pastime. Good luck but how does it pay the bills???

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  • February 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Hi Dave and Freddie,

    Please allow me to address the valid concerns you both brought up in your comments.

    I should have pointed out that my hyperlocal website has only been ‘live’ for about a week now, so I’ll admit it’s not the best thing since sliced bread. As you can see, there are no slideshows, podcasts or videos, yet. As I stated this is a ‘living’ CV – which means it’ll grow and develop and this takes time. It’s a chronology of my skill development. There will be less-than-professional content on the website, but I hope this will be an on going venture to sharpen these skills.

    A few bob hiring a web designer? I’m a 21-year-old unemployed student journalist, I don’t have the kind of money to have a designer make over my website. With respect to the logo, like I say the site has been live for a week, this is not the be all and end all of Easington Hewer logos. I used a free WordPress theme and put together the logo myself. Perhaps it shows? I’m kinda glad it does. I’m not a slick professional, I’m a local lad trying to deliver my community a service (and fulfil my assignment criteria at the same time). To a large extent it’s about the content not the design – check out other local news websites to get an idea of what I’m up against (and they have bigger budgets and more staff than I do).

    Journalism courses are in limbo at the moment. Only now are they focusing on multimedia content – and even this is via certain modules as opposed to being intrinsic to the degree as a whole. The NCTJ also needs to catch up in my opinion. Web design, HTML coding, etc. are currently not being taught on my degree. Perhaps they should be?

    There is nothing under those columns, because, well, the website hasn’t been live long enough for me to write a story for each category. Check back in a few months and I’m sure I’ll have at least one story per topic. At present I’m the only writer for the website.


    Like I said, Freddie, I’m a journalism student who just launched a hyperlocal website last week. At present I virtually have no readers, who would want to advertise on my website without an audience? At the moment I’m writing the content because of my assessment and I’ll go on writing the content because of my passion for grass roots journalism. At the moment this website is not meant to be my full-time job, it’s a ‘living’ CV, demonstrating my skills to potential employers and my (working for free) passion for journalism. It’s about developing the strings on my bow. If you can give me an example of a hyperlocal website that not only covers its costs but allows its writers to sustain a living I’d seriously be interested in it!

    I hope that clears up any confusion and I look forward to any other comments you’d like to make,

    Best wishes,


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