Sharp rolling news blog punctures journalism survey gloom

In a week when newspaper journalism was put at the top of a ‘worst jobs’ list I was determined to find some light in the darkness.

And, on Saturday morning, I found it.

As I have said before in this blog, one of our biggest opportunities – and biggest tests – as journalists is how we respond to a major, breaking story.

On Friday and Saturday, the Oxford Mail showed how, with its coverage of a big hotel fire in the centre of the city.

I was mightily impressed by the way in which the news team at the Mail responded to the breaking news that one of the city’s landmarks – seen many times in Morse, no less – was ablaze.

randolph

What they did over the Randolph Hotel (pictured above by the Mail) wasn’t particularly ground-breaking or complicated.

But editor Simon O’Neill’s team had pulled out all the stops to give a people-focused, comprehensive, picture-heavy, running commentary.

They had used their content management system to run a continuous blog summarising the key developments, linking out to galleries and individual stories.

The Mail – with what Simon told me had been a “wonderful team effort” – has form here, having put together something similar, plus 13 pages of print coverage, on the Bullfinch child grooming scandal on its patch in March.

There are papers up and down the country – including our own Local World titles – offering this sort of news blog on a regular basis. The Liverpool Echo, for instance, runs a breaking news blog every day.

But I have rarely seen one done as well as Oxford’s, presided over by assistant editor Jason Collie.

It was sharp, human, attractive, up to date and useful.

With our own Local World system, a recent upgrade means we can now do this sort of thing better than ever, with further improvements due later in the year.

When there’s only one story in town, this is the way to go, answering the huge demand for information in bite-size chunks.

When I see smart coverage of big news stories, it makes me proud to be part of this profession.

Worst job in the world? Not for me.

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