I’ve picked up at least three potential exclusives – just through random conversations over the course of one morning. None of these have been noted by the press round where I live.
I would gladly report them for the local media but they don’t appear to give out freelance contracts so I don’t have the official press credentials to get two of these tales ‘stood up’ by police in Haringey and Islington boroughs.
Without that double-sourcing, I won’t go into the details here except to say that in one case there are claims of a significant delay in police appealing for witnesses, which residents feel have public interest repercussions.
Two of the stories were gleaned in the course of disposing of rubbish at a council depot where staff were buzzing with details and happy to share with all-comers. They couldn’t understand why they were unreported and were keen for everyone to be aware.
The third story came from a young woman living in the heart of the troubles in Tottenham. It was about a meeting to be held on Tuesday evening, which she was worried about. Her partner was too close to recent events, she felt, and she was considering whether she wanted a future or the children she was planning to have with him any more. The emotional as well as physical impact recent events are having on residents and relationships is the grist of local feature writing and colour pieces.
My point is simple – journalists should be out on the streets of their patch, chatting to anyone and everyone and building a recognisable presence in their area. That way, when something does happen, you’ll be the first to know and you’ll be properly reflecting the concerns and interests of your readers. Even a couple of hours a week can make all the difference to you and your community.