As seen onFavicon for

Hyper local breaking news: Whose role is it anyway?

I work for the BBC yet somehow managed to help a citizen journalism website break a story. Here's how it happened and what I learnt about being a citizen journalist for a I work in training not in news now :) ... #justsaying


  1. The merit of following the right people

    As a result of the Polis and BBC Value of Journalism conference I met Ravin Sampat (@Rav1no) very briefly from Blottr. I hadn't got round to asking him what he does for them but as it happens because I started following him on Twitter - I didn't need to. His tweets made it clear:-

  2. I work in Bush House on the Strand so first and foremost (to be frank) I was interested in this story on a personal level.

    I looked at #holbornfire for more clues - I guess I wasn't convinced it was true. At the time there were four tweets in the hashtag about it. Two of which had pictures attached. They, like the one above, didn't really give away the exact location of the fire. 

    I decided not to think too much about it until ...

  3. Then.....
  4. I hesitated......why? 

    Because   a) I was supposed to be working...

                      b) I didn't think I'd see anything...

    So I went outside anyway (lol) - because I had been asked nicely and because I decided I wasn't going to go very far. 

  5. So it turns out the fire was just next door. 

  6. (aside )

    Surprised my Iphone manages to produce a picture even though I'm shooting right into the sky.

  7. I tweet more about what I see (almost as though some reporter switch is activated in my brain) I do so because I feel like I've got an audience on Twitter at least,  because I'm at the scene of a breaking story (so a unique position) and because a news org (albeit small or citizen led) is taking an interest in what I have to offer. 

    So yes I feel "empowered" - as the citizen journalism platform claims.  

  8. On taking this picture I'm thinking I really ought to let BBC London know too (a place where I once worked incidentally) 

    But it appears @bbclondon hasn't spotted or taken an interest in the story - unlike Blottr. (No evidence under the hashtags on Twitter anyway)

    I also know from working there in the past this wouldn't interest them because it's not really big enough.

    So it begs the question why should I?

    I tweet my picture to @bbclondon and the Social Media and Travel bod @SteveKphillips anyway (because it's the right thing to do) 

    Question: - What would I have done if I didn't work for the BBC or if I were a freelance journalist?

    In the meantime Blottr get my pics...

  9. I am thanked :) Good Social Media etiquette.

  10. Still not much around on big media outlets.  I get back into the office and look at the copy on the Blottr link. Whilst it doesn't appear to be factually inaccurate it is full of spelling and grammatical errors.

    What's interesting though, is that it is editable! I'm tempted to go in there. A colleague of mine sees the copy and is disturbed by it.