Guardian articles on home dialysis and community records

Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network has recently published two pieces by me, one on home dialysis and the other on shared community electronic health records. The first was based on a recent visit to the dialysis service at Nottingham City Hospital, which is piloting the Quanta SC+ dialysis machine.

The trial is taking place in the ward, but the machine is designed for home dialysis – it is a fraction of the size and weight of most. In the photo below, it’s to the left of Ian Hichens, who usually uses home dialysis but was using the ward so he could play the Sugar Plum Fairy in a panto. Continue reading “Guardian articles on home dialysis and community records”

For Beacon: what links the British constitution and ridicule?

The answer, in my piece today on Beacon: neither have their rules written down, which makes them flexible. The British constitution is whatever Parliament decides it to be; and the rules on ridicule have become basically that you can make fun of people based on what they choose to do, not what they were born as.

That means making fun of someone on Fox News over what he chooses to say about Birmingham is absolutely fine, as is Boris Johnson saying this: Continue reading “For Beacon: what links the British constitution and ridicule?”

Two Warwickshire mansions: the time capsule and the gallery

Charlecote Park and Compton Verney were both built as grand private houses, occupied by their founding families until the 20th century. They are now both open to the public, but offer contrasting visions of Britain.

Originally published on Beacon.

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If you want to monitor local authorities, we’ll ask the locals for you

Local authorities matter. They provide many of the most basic public services: schools, roads, refuse collections and recycling, social services, planning and benefits administration. They are the part of government you would notice first, if they stopped working. In many areas of Britain, a council is the largest employer, and with their elected members, local authorities are arguably the most democratic type of public sector organisation.

But they are tricky to follow. Journalists trying to cover councils nationally suffer from being based mainly in one place, London, from lack of resources and from the sheer number of authorities.

The exceptions are journalists who work for locally-focused publishers. Despite falling advertising and circulation income, it is still local and regional newspapers, broadcasters and online publishers that produce the best coverage of local authorities.

As a result, while it is easy to keep tabs on your own council, if you want to track local authorities nationwide – as a councillor or official keen to learn from your peers, or a supplier seeking new opportunities – you would need to monitor many hundreds of sources.

So let Council News Monitor do the job for you. It’s a new email service, sent first thing every weekday morning, with articles and press releases from councils in all nine English regions, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – or, as the four nations can safely be called again, the United Kingdom. Continue reading “If you want to monitor local authorities, we’ll ask the locals for you”

Charging for journalism: crowdfunding, paywalls, metering and Beacon

This is a guest post for Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog. I recently spoke to media students on Birmingham City University, where Paul leads the MA course in online journalism; this post is based on research for that talk.

While in the city I also visited the Library of Birmingham, covered here on Beacon.

The Columbia Review of Journalism recently reported that the Financial Times now has nearly twice as many digital subscribers as print ones, having added 99,000 online customers in 2013.

They pay significant amounts for access: the cheapest online subscription to the FT is £5.19 a week. A free registration process does allow access to 8 articles a month – but try to access a ninth and you have to pay.

The FT was earlier than most to charge online, but many publishers have followed suit. Only a few – such as The Times – lock up everything, but titles including the Telegraph, New York Times and Economist all use metering, allowing non-paying readers access to a limited number of articles before a subscription is required. They have been joined by increasing numbers of trade and local publications.

This isn’t just an option for established titles: as a freelance journalist I write for Beacon, a start-up used by more than 100 journalists in more than 30 countries to publish their reporting. It has “more than several thousand” subscribers after five months’ operation, co-founder Adrian Sanders told the New York Times recently.

Continue reading “Charging for journalism: crowdfunding, paywalls, metering and Beacon”