In this lesson we looked into what it takes to be a good community or municipal reporter.
As silly as it sounds one of the first understand the difference between the different councils and what they are responsible for.
If someone is complaining regarding ongoing issues with x,y and z you need to be aware of who controls/has responsibility for it to allow the right to respond.
If there is an issue with bins or community issue you must know who to contact.
Here is a brief outline of who controls what:
- fire and public safety b
- social care
- waste management
- trading standards
District, Borough and City Councils
- Rubbish collection
- Council Tax Collections
- Planning applications
Parish, Community and Town Councils
- Public Clocks
- Bus Shelters
- Community Centres
- Play areas & Equipment
- Consultation on Neighborhood Planning
- Fly Tipping
- Dog Offenses
Understanding who’s responsible for what is not enough, its also vital to understand how the system works and who does what.
Local government regardless of the level is like a big machine and every person in every department plays their part.
Above all else THE most important thing for a reporter is to understand the people you serve.
All communities are different with differing needs and issues.
A good municipal reported understands people and what makes them tick, as well as what upsets them.
A reporter needs to be observant, accurate, empathetic and think skinned.
The are few tips I’ve been given are:
- become friends or at least on first name terms with the press officers and staff in all majors services.
- be seen, the more people see you in and about your patch the more they will talk to you and trust you
- get to know the local shop keepers and community leaders, they usually like to talk