Week 2: A quick personal view by Adrian

Pic: Frances Deacon. Adrian hard at work at the Big Issue online journalists HQ.

Pic: Frances Deacon. Adrian hard at work at the Big Issue online journalists HQ.

This is a quick personal view written very much under the kosh. Just 45 minutes to go and I do want to have a good break before we go, because I haven’t really managed to have one yet.

We’ve learnt, or maybe in some cases re-learnt, how to write the basics of a news story, plus doing bits of photography for it. Stories need some of the 5 “w”s – who, what, where, why and when. And sometimes an “h” – how. Always aimed at a particular audience.

They need to answer questions like – 1. Why it grabs you. 2. What’s the story/angle you’re going to take on it. 3. Who are the key voices. 4. How do we make the headline effective? 5. Is it best illustrated by a picture and how can we do this?

We selected stories from different newspapers and publications, local, national and specialist. I selected one from the Tower Hamlets publication “East End Life” on an Accessible Transport event. This grabbed me as a disabled freedom pass holder. This turned out to be quite a perfunctory notice, aimed narrowly at people with “mobility problems” and “learning disabilities” and thus failing to meet the Council’s legal obligations under the Autism Act 2009 to improve services for autistic people through the involvement of autistic people and their organisations, as well as other types of disabled people under the Equality Act 2010, to say nothing of the UN Disability Convention and other obligations.

We then had a look at press releases with an aim to getting a local angle on them through interviews and photos in Dalston – vox pops, working in pairs. I did one on the problem of landlords being able to evict people at two months notice without having to give any reason.

I wrote up a draft of the article in the evening, very quickly as I only had about half an hour, emailing it to my collaborator, Frances.

Only to be told this afternoon that a press release had gone out yesterday indicating that the Government will now support a private members bill which will probably require landlords to give 6 months notice of this type of eviction, along with a raft of other reforms. This meant that we had to substantially re-write the article.

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