Professor Roy Greenslade, in his media column in the national Guardian, has singled out Inside Croydon‘s coverage of Monday night’s riots for praise.
Greenslade contrasted our “enthusiasm” and “excellent” reportage with the coverage which he struggled to locate on the Sadvertiser website, which has been put together with the backing of the multi-million pound Northcliffe local newspaper empire – part of the group that owns the Daily Mail – and its staff.
The Inside Croydon coverage was provided by volunteers in the form of an ex-MP and a pair of schoolboys, who behaved with terrific professionalism. Unlike some reporters on the scene, they also had the good sense to avoid “becoming the story”, and also enough intelligence to realise that plumes of smoke from Reeves Corner might have indicated a major fire.
Greenslade – a former Daily Mirror Editor who now lectures on journalism at City University – writes: “The Croydon Advertiser content was altogether much poorer. By contrast, the Inside Croydon blog did show a measure of enthusiasm, with an excellent late-night article, Croydon burns as looters storm the Whitgift Centre, which linked to earlier eyewitness reports.”
In his review of the local newspaper riots coverage across London and the country, Greenslade puts a view about how “established” local papers have got it all wrong as far as their digital strategies are concerned.
He writes: “The problem could not be clearer. Local newspapers remain wedded to print. They are just not set up to report online, even if their journalists have engaged with new media tools…
“Publishers need to learn from this experience. They have failed their audiences by failing to invest enough in online resources. In so doing, they are letting down the public they affect to serve.
“If they don’t soon grasp the potential of the digital revolution they will not be able to transform themselves from print to online news outlets.
“Then again, I suspect local newspaper publishers don’t really care about journalism. They are commercial operators who are interested only in profit.
“The London riots have exposed the hollowness of their oft-repeated claims to be public tribunes.”
- Thanks once again to our reporting team from Monday, Andrew Pelling, Ed Matthews and Will Downes.
- Croydon burns as looters storm the Whitgift Centre (insidecroydon.com)
- “Clean Up Croydon” will need more than a dustpan and brush (insidecroydon.com)
- Local newspapers fail to rise to the occasion to report on the riots (guardian.co.uk)
- Sadvertiser gives Inside Croydon a silly boost in traffic (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)
- London riots: before and after the destruction in Croydon, Hackney and Enfield (telegraph.co.uk)