Since 2011, all councils have been required to publish expenditure on items over £500. At the CIJ Summer School this year, Paul Francis and Ted Jeory explained how to turn this information into a story… Continue reading
Tag Archives: council meetings
7 ways to follow a field you want to investigate
Here’s a part by part guide to how you can follow different ‘streams’ of information as a journalist to understand what’s going on in a particular field, and how they can inform your real-world digging. Most of them involve using an RSS reader like Google Reader to follow feeds to keep in touch with developments.
1. Prepackaged news
While much is made of the ‘exclusive’ in journalism, and students will be harangued for recycling work done by other journalists, the truth is that the first thing most journalists do every day is check out their competitors, and get a feel for the current news agenda. A journalist has to balance being ‘on top’ of developments that others are covering (“Why don’t we have something on this story?”), while also reporting information that others don’t have. Continue reading
The legal issues around recording ‘public’ council meetings – investigation roundup
Users of Help Me Investigate have been exploring the various legal issues surrounding recording council meetings. Although these are supposed to be public, some councils object to any form of recording, while others are happy to have them streamed live, and still others sit somewhere in the middle.
- The Data Protection Act 1998
- The Human Rights Act 1998 (privacy)
- “Procedural matters”
- Defamation law
- That a member of the public will make a defamatory statement, and publication of this on the council website will leave them open to legal action
- That a member of the council might make a defamatory statement which, despite being covered by qualified privilege, would also constitute a breach of the council’s own code of conduct, “and webcasts may be used as evidence”. It’s not made clear whether the emphasis here seems to be on destroying evidence, rather than the preventing such behaviour itself.