Hyperlocal. open data. journalism conference: If you’ll come, I’ll build it.

Update: I’ve decided on dates. 6th and 7th of November 2015 in Preston. If you’re interested you can tell me what you’d like to see through a quick survey

As part of my current research activity into hyperlocal and open data, I’m finding myself at events talking to a lot of people in open data circles and a lot of people in Hyperlocal circles. But more often than not they aren’t the same events.

I know there are lots of moves to get hyperlocal’s interested in data journalism (especially with the election fresh in peoples mind). Likewise I know that a lot of open data people are also committed to (or ideologically disposed to ) the transparency and accountability aspects of journalism.

So, finding myself with some resources (that does mean money), I thought it would be fun to get some people in the same room.

So if you’re a hyperlocal, open (government) data person, journalist or local government person involved in data, would you come round to my place for a mini-conference on Making hyperlocal data journalism?

I have some ideas for what we could do…

  • Some open training sessions in data for hyerplocals
  • Some awareness raising from government people about what’s happening at a local level in terms of data
  • Business models for hyperlocal data
  • Best practice for working together to build data communities at a local level.
  • can (and should) government tell stories with data

…but I know loads of people are doing some or all of these things already so if nothing else,  it may just serve as a chance to get together and share this stuff with a hyperlocal focus.

At this stage I’d love to know if you’d be interested. What would you like to see? What format should it take? Who would you like to see speak or be in the room?

Initially I was thinking about a day or two at the end of August (maybe beginning of September but don’t want to clash with this event in Cardiff). But it could be later if people thought that was better. It would be in Preston.

Let me know in the comments below what, who and when to get the ball rolling.

Credit: Sofa picture Creative commons by net_efekt via Flickr

21 Replies to “Hyperlocal. open data. journalism conference: If you’ll come, I’ll build it.”

    1. Thanks Adam. I’ve been picking up some contacts too and thought it would be good to get more people in the same room.

  1. this is welcome – happy to help somehow

    end of august is a dead time tho. hyperlocals do use data occasionally but at a local level it tends to be a lot of work for a one off. hyperlocals tend to be heavily reliant on volunteer labour and people might not want to give their labour to be part of a local data community if it doesn’t serve their cause

    ‘awareness raising from government people’ needs to be done carefully from my experience as a former government person and a former member of the local government open data panel – it can kill things.

    the really interesting space here is the one recently vacated by chris taggart – doing simple things to make local data easier to access and use, the next step beyond an API (remember practically no one can use an API)

    have you thought about targetting local newspapers for instance they are better resourced and can tap into group level expertise?

    my long standing critique of the trends in open data has been the pursuit of commerical style business models when in fact this sort of work should be grant funded. or even worse, challenge competitions

    1. Thanks Will. I agree that open government/data is a problematic area for those inside gov as well as out. I think hyperlocal is a really interesting mixed economy though. It brings the elements of social and economic innovation together with the more ideological freedom of information in much closer proximity than the broader debates. It’ll be interesting to see whether some of those broader concerns you voice play out in the same way, are more or less important.

  2. ‘at the end of August’ may not quite fit with my current holiday schedule but this sounds like a really good idea for an event.

    1. Hi David. It would be really valuable to have you along. The dates are not set in stone at the moment I’m taking soundings on the best time. So you never know…

  3. Andy, sounds good. Wondering if there could be an opportunity at the hyperlocal event we’re holding with Cardiff’s C4CJ on 9 Sept, for you to do almost a mini session before your bigger separate event. Still in planning stage but I’m thinking out loud.

    1. The event sounds great. Would be fun to see Dan Gilmour.I was thinking before September for this event – but I’m open to the view of the crowd on that on.If nothing else, it’s worth knowing about the event in terms of proximity and a mini-session would be great regardless.

  4. Andy, excellent idea, we’re thinking about this a lot at our start-up Near You Now. I see some great work going on at hyperlocal publishers, ddj specialists, regionals & nationals but little to connect them. Happy to help in any way I can. Anthony

  5. Hi Andy, this sounds like a good idea and very happy to get involved in whatever way you see fit. This observation about the disconnect between the two things is well spotted – and it is not an issue unique to the UK. I’m currently getting started with a project in South Africa which seeks to tackle the disconnect in a new and interesting way. It’s not live yet, but hopefully will be visible by the time of your event. Which brings me timing – please DON’T have it in August. I have earmarked August to take my first proper break since going freelance and am fiercely defending that possibility! Good luck getting set up and do give me shout if I can help in any way.

  6. Would be happy to attend and hopefully speak about digital local tv platforms, new definitions of content, of developing models to make really local media platforms work for communities, such as the one we are developing in the Wiltshire market town of Corsham – http://www.corshamtv.tv. Corsham TV is an initiative by the not for profit research centre Corsham Institute researching, engaging & delivering digital programmes. Perhaps an associated event at the Cardiff conference could work in the first instance, leading to a more developed event later in Preston? Anyway happy to engage with this very timely idea. Am speaking on aspects of this at a conference tomorrow in Coventry: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-future-of-local-online-video-covflov-tickets-16788209988?aff=estw – if of interest. Thanks, Martin – @Ci_Content

    1. Thanks Martin. Was going to try and make it to the Coventry thing this week but the gods conspired agin me. One of the partners in the research project I’m working on is Hello York – local tv licence holder for York. So the local TV is very much in my mind especially given some of the original local accountability rhetoric associated with the local tv project.

  7. I know Ouest Media would be happy to come across and of course Nesta’s Kathryn. She is doing a hyperlocal precursor in Cardiff September 9 but the whole thing seems to have been clamped down to a very un-open invite only

  8. I’d be interested in this, I publish open data for a local gov – it would be great to get people using it and would give us a push to open up more data.

    1. Hi Vikki. Thanks for the comment and great to have you along if you can come. They’ll be more info soon, including dates.

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