This month The Journalism Foundation distributed 50,000 copies of a special print edition of local news website Pits n Pots to houses in Stoke-on-Trent – roughly a copy for every other house in the city.
The project was put together with the help of Staffordshire University journalism students and aims to bring a broader audience to the site, with original news features on the local area.
Jackie Gregory, senior lecturer in journalism at Staffordshire University, said: “Around a dozen students, who all have a busy university workload, gave up many hours of their own time to produce this paper. They worked under pressure with great dedication and humour. It was a learning curve but they can be proud of the result.”
Mike Rawlins, editor of Pits n Pots wrote this morning: “Creating a print edition of Pits n Pots is something that [founder] Tony Walley and I spoke about in the past but never managed to bring the idea to fruition but thanks to the support of The Journalism Foundation I have finally been able to cross that off the list of things we wanted to do.”
The Journalism Foundation is delighted to be involved with PitsnPots.co.uk. We believe that a free press is an essential instrument of democracy, and the aim of The Journalism Foundation is to demonstrate how journalism can be a force for good by supporting projects which have a direct and positive effect on people’s lives.
That is why we are supporting PitsnPots.co.uk, the website for Stoke-on-Trent.
This is our first project in the UK and we have helped in various ways – making the website even easier to access, cleaning up the look and, by publishing this special print edition, raising the profile.
We think it vital that people get involved in local politics because local politics is a very important part of everyone’s lives.
It is really about the quality of how we live whether it be the providing of libraries, swimming pools, rubbish collection, recycling, parks or schools.
Journalism is changing rapidly. The open access of the internet, the rise of the blogosphere and the advent of social media has seen an exponential rise in citizen journalism.
We have seen during the Arab spring the powerful role these networks can play in the effective dissemination of information and opinion.
This is journalism every bit as worthwhile as more traditional forms.
There are many projects in this field that fulfill an important democratic function, but lack for support, professional advice and resources.
In many areas of the UK, local newspapers are dying, and are not being replaced by other media.
This leaves a big gap in the reporting of local affairs and regional politics. The role for journalism – print, broadcast or online – to make up the democratic deficit is only too clear.
To read more about The Jourmalism Foundation’s Project in Stoke-on-Trent click here