I’m in today’s Yorkshire Post, discussing why radio still matters. The paper’s Chris Bond gave me a ring yesterday for a feature off the back of James Naughtie’s last broadcast on the Today programme.
The general thrust of what I said was that radio has been remarkably resilient over the years. Predictions of its demise have been around since the early days of television, but the latest RAJAR figures show that almost 90% of us still tune in once a week. The quality that allowed Today’s millions of listeners to feel as though Naughtie was talking directly to them, is something that TV has never matched. Perhaps more surprisingly, in an era when we reveal much more of all our lives on social media than ever before, the intimacy of radio still has a special power, at least sometimes.
But on the other hand, there’s trouble ahead for traditional radio. While 41% of 15-24 year olds say they listen to the radio on a tablet or mobile once a month, it’s not immediately clear how many tune into linear radio in the way their parents and grandparents do. Certainly, the days of sitting poised over the cassette player during the Top 40 are over. Young people I teach at the University of Huddersfield are still interested in radio, and love podcasts, but even as it seems outwardly to be in rude health, I suspect traditional radio is also at the beginning of a gentle decline.
Streaming and social media won’t kill linear radio any more than TV did, but it will cannibalise its audience, and in time Naughtie’s successors will be a less significant part of our national conversation.
My latest lecture to my international MA students at the University of Leeds was about hyperlocal news. It’s something I know a good bit about, having set up and run Saddleworth News for a couple of years, so hopefully I was able to give them an interesting perspective on this area of the media.
I explained to them that, while I learned a lot from running Saddleworth News, I was unable to find an answer to the problem of how to make journalism, and in particular websites featuring local journalism, pay. But then if I’d found that secret, something tells me I don’t think I’d have been there today giving a lecture!
Here’s the presentation: http://prezi.com/ckqvhfsdym7y/ma-lecture-4-university-of-leeds/
I’ve got one more lecture to give after Easter, and I’ve been doing a series of eight practical sessions teaching them practical journalism skills too. I’ve also been doing more teaching with the first year Broadcast Journalism undergrads, and I’ve got them all to find a local site in their hometowns to discuss in seminars later in the week, so it’ll be interesting to get their views on the value or otherwise of hyperlocal.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged Advertising, Alderleyedge.com, Didsbury Life, Facebook, Hyperlocal, Lectures, Local TV, Manchester Transport Blog, New York Times, Patch, Saddleworth News, Sheffield Forum, South Leeds Life, The Guardian, Trinity Mirror, University of Leeds, Yorkshire Post
Today was the second of the five lectures I’m giving to MA students on the International Journalism course at the University of Leeds. It was on the theme of how more information is now freely available than ever before, and looked at ways in which journalists use this information for news stories and other purposes.
You can take a look at the presentation here: http://prezi.com/ko03xsk9mfco/ma-lecture-2-university-of-leeds/
Inevitably, it was a bit of a canter through lots of different but related issues, including filming of public meetings, open data, data-driven journalism, various Freedom of Information laws, and online whistleblowing of the kind made famous by Wikileaks. I fell back a few times on stories I’d done for Saddleworth News using various pieces of data, I’m not sure whether the students from around the world were particularly fascinated to know about road crashes on the A62, but I hope I got the general points across.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged Councils, Data-driven journalism, Freedom of Information, Last.fm, Open data, Police, Saddleworth News, The Guardian, University of Leeds, Wikileaks, Yorkshire Post