Østlands-Posten, a daily local newspaper serving the town of Larvik in Norway, has been inviting people to its newsroom to discuss subjects currently affecting the community and how the town could be improved.
One of the major problems with local journalism in the UK is that it has ceased to be local – journalists are pushing into hubs, often a distance away from the place they’re reporting on. A few years back, the now-defunct Brighton Future of News Group ran a pop-up newsroom in Shoreham-by-Sea, the town where I live. The response from the locals was remarkable (although sadly, the Tumblr we posted it all on has been lost). Being visibly there – with an open door policy, which allowed people to just walk in and talk to us was an eye-opening experience.
The Østlands-Posten experiment seems to be run on extremely thoughtful lines:
The meetings are run using the open-space technique, with people divided into groups based on the specific topics they wish to discuss. To make sure everyone has their say and nobody dominates the debate, the person with the smallest shoe size in each group speaks first, and the spotlight then moves from person to person around the table.
I’d actually enjoy that, wouldn’t you?
• Østlands-Posten parent Amedia has a fascinating approach to building its online audience, which I posted about a coupe of weeks ago.