This morning's Medway Messenger leads on a fineÂ illustrationÂ of whyÂ local journalismÂ matters.Â Alan Watkins' exclusiveÂ about the number of staff at Medway council earning in excess of Â£50k is an exampleÂ of a diligentÂ reporter and his newspaper holding local governmentÂ to account.
On page 2 you'll find the sadÂ story I've been predictingÂ all week in the hope that someone mightÂ follow it up.Â i.e. both the soldiers murdered in Antrim on Saturday were trained at Brompton Barracks.Â
Local newsgathering really, reallyÂ matters. Please note where the necessaryÂ confirmationÂ came from. The reporter, Lyn Cox spoke toÂ the army (the key quote is from Brigadier Tony Harking, Commandant of the Royal School of Military Engineering). Remember: the net is a tremendous place to publish, innovate and check. It contains vast quantities of useful information, but you shouldÂ never forget that the reporter's absoluteÂ duty isÂ to find things out (Remember Allan Little's advice "Go and find something out")Â If someone has put a story,Â quote or factÂ on the net then they have already found it. It isn't original. It is second hand. Reporters need original information. TheyÂ shouldÂ put original information on the net rather thanÂ borrowing second hand material from it. Â