Scottish independence & IT: skilled immigrants yes, banks no?

With a week to go to the vote on Scottish independence, The Register has published a lengthy piece by me on the potential impact of independence on ICT companies and professionals.

The most interesting argument from the yes side is that an independent Scotland could allow more skilled immigration, although doing so could conflict with its aim of keeping an open border with the new UK. On the no side, there are worries about currency, VAT, EU membership (of both Scotland and the new UK), the end of the Royal Mail universal service obligation, you name it. Continue reading

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Article for Guardian on Salvation Army and sexual abuse claims

For Society Guardian, Saba Salman and I write about one woman’s experience of trying to report claims of 1970s sexual abuse to the Salvation Army and the police. The full article is below.
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Making digital journalism pay: doable. Making a living: difficult

I was one of three speakers at an NUJ Oxford event last Thursday on how to make digital journalism pay. A theme developed: it is perfectly realistic for journalists to make money out of digital journalism, but the problem comes from making a decent living.

Tim Dawson, vice-president of the National Union of Journalists and a long-time writer and editor for The Sunday Times, spoke first. He has literally written the book on this area, Help Yourself – new ways to make money from writing. (It’s also available free for NUJ members – details here.) He outlined some of the methods for doing this, which could be divided into three types: advertising-funded, marketing for other business and reader-funded. (More on his New Model Journalism site here.) Continue reading

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On cities and data for

I kicked off a new series, Supplier side, for last week with two pieces: one on what Ukip’s rise means for businesses (not good), the other on the insights you can gain from cities and data:

Cities are found at the extremes of all kinds of official datasets. National Statistics produces workplace-based gross value added figures, roughly equivalent to gross domestic product for an area’s workplaces, for 193 areas of the UK. The UK-wide figure for 2012 was £21,674. London’s was £37,232, and if you break it down further, inner London west (including the City and Westminster) totted up £127,127, nearly six times the national average.

Everyone knows London is rich, but the same pattern is visible on smaller scales. The second highest gross value added in the UK is the City of Edinburgh’s £35,614, 74 per cent higher than the Scottish average of £20,423. Leeds generates £24,770 a head, compared with £19,149 across all of West Yorkshire. Cities are the places where regions and counties go to work, as well as countries.

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My one-day data journalism training course on 22 September

Data plays an increasingly big part in journalism. It can conjure exclusive stories out of a slab of figures. It lets journalists take full advantage of government policies on open access and freedom of information. It can produce some really nice graphs and maps.

How the NHS staff mix has changed since 2009, based on data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre; click on graph for the Guardian article that used this

Data journalism training is now part of many post-graduate training courses, such as those run by Paul Bradshaw at Birmingham City University. But for those already in journalism, the National Union of Journalists is hosting a one-day course run by myself, which will provide a practical introduction to using data in journalism, on Monday 22 September at the NUJ’s headquarters near King’s Cross in London. You don’t have to be an NUJ member, but the course is cheaper if you are: £175 for employed NUJ members, £100 for unemployed ones, £200 for those in some affiliated unions and £275 otherwise. Continue reading

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