Behind Local News and Laudable team up for journalism conference

The Behind Local News conference returns, with Laudable Podcasts as a partner, to bring discussions and insights from the ever-changing world of local journalism to an audience of local journalists from UK media companies

More than 150 journalists from local news media are set to gather at the first Behind Local News conference of 2020.

The invite-only conference, themed ‘The Future Starts Here’, is being staged jointly by Behind Local News and the Laudable Podcasts project, and will look at emerging trends for audiences and in audio, innovations in data journalism, and engaging diverse communities.

There will also be a series of practical workshops tackling getting started in podcasting, social media bear traps, and the AI revolution.

The conference takes place on Thursday, January 23 at The Custard Factory, in Birmingham, with invited delgates from newsrooms across media groups including Reach, JPI Media, Newsquest, Archant and Iliffe attending, along with guests from academia, the BBC and tech platforms.

It will be opened by Jeremy Clifford, editor in chief of JPI Media, and the opening keynote will be given by digital strategist Nic Newman.

Nic has a huge professional interest in audio platforms and he will be presenting findings from his report News Podcasts and the Opportunities for Publishers and the Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions for 2020 report .

Both are published by the Reuters Institute for Journalism at Oxford University where he is senior research associate.

The second keynote of the day is being given by Alisa Schuster, who is a senior customer success manager at Chartbeat in New York.

Alisa is a leading expert in extracting and interpreting audience data from the hundreds of publishers around the world who use the Chartbeat analytics platform. She will be sharing her overarching learnings and tips to take back to the newsrooms with the conference audience.

Nicola Adam

The Keynotes will be followed by two panels: the first will be a discussion on 2020 plans from the various publishers, led by Nicola Adam, Deputy Editor of the Lancashire (Evening) Post and Group Editor of Johnston Press Blackpool and Preston weekly titles.

The second panel will feature Facebook Community News Reporters from different media groups discussing how they engage audiences and seek to diversify the content of their brands. It will be led by Helen Harper, head of communities for Reach plc.

The morning sessions will be completed with a data session from Alex Homer, a reporter with the BBC Shared Data Unit and John Mills, Researcher in Media Innovation Studio at School of Journalism and Digital Communication, University of Central Lancashire. John will be sharing insights from the Sensemaker data probe project running with the Manchester Evening News.

The afternoon is being given over to three practical workshops.

One will be led by social media expert and trainer Sue Llewellyn, of Ultrasocial, who will be giving advice, examples and insights into how Fake News, unconscious bias and social media deadlines can sometimes conspire to trap the unwary reporter — and and how journalists can protect themselves and their reputations.

Workshop two will be led by Laudable podcast producers Matt Millard,Morven McIntyre and Daniel McLaughlin, who will be giving practical advice on how to get started with podcasting, a kit show and tell, and talking about ways reporters and news managers can start to incorporate audio into their content planning.

Kirsten Dewar

The third workshop ‘How AI is Fuelling a New Era of Local Reporting?’ is being led by Kirsten Dewar, Associate Director, News, of Dataminr. Dataminr is a global leading AI business, used by thousands of journalists in over 650 newsrooms around the world.

The final session of the day will be given by Paul Gallagher, Executive Editor (Digital Development) Reach PLC Regionals, and brought to a close by Toby Granville, Editorial Development Director, Newsquest.

For those not attending, there is the chance to get involved and follow the discussions taking place. There will be an official Twitter hashtag for the day — #BLNConf — and a live blog running on Behind Local News and on the @behindlocalnews Twitter account. There will also be live streaming of some talks and videos of the presentations will be posted retrospectively.



The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK

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