We’ve secured £11,000 for Lichfield radio & history projects!

Last night I attended a meeting of Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet. One of the items under discussion was the allocation of section 106 funding.

Section 106 funding is money secured from developers when they carry out large scale developments withing the local authority boundaries. There have been a few in recent years, such as the housing on the site of the old Victoria Hospital.

Local community groups are invited to bid for this money in order to fund capital project (i.e. purchasing of physical items, such as equipment or erecting monuments). This time around, £220,000 was on offer and we had a hand in two applications.

Lichfield Community Radio Station

We’ve been working with Lichfield Cathedral School and Staffordshire University to put together a proposal for a community radio station for Lichfield. Sixth formers at the school would be professionally trained and would pass that training on to other students both at the Cathedral School and other schools in the district.

Students would then produce the radio station for which we would provide the online technology to present the station to local residents. Our hope is that the station will feature local people, politicians and issues – we have a lot of ideas!

We asked for £10,761 (out of the total project cost of £20,261) in order to purchase the necessary equipment, such as sound-proof mobile recording booth, microphones and audio desk. We are delighted that we have been allocated £8,000 for the project which will help us to get going this year. It’s not the full amount we wanted but we’re confident we can work with it and will be appealing to local people to help us achieve our goals.

Lichfield Blue Plaque Trail

You’ve probably come across blue plaques before – they’re often in places of significant historial interest. Strangely, despite it’s rich heritage, Lichfield doesn’t have any and we wanted to change that.

Instead of just putting blue plaques up though, we wanted to mix history with digital technology. Working with Lichfield District Council, local history blogger Kate of Lichfield Lore and wikipedia expert Andy Mabbett, we put together a proposal for a blue plaque trail using QRpedia.

The aim is to place small blue plaques around Lichfield which carry a QR code. A QR code is like a barcode that can be scanned by smartphones and connect people to websites. QRpedia is an implementation of QR codes that directs people to Wikipedia articles, in their language, on a particular topic.

As well as placing the QRpedia codes around Lichfield we’re hoping to engage with local historians to improve Wikipedia articles about Lichfield and provide a rich resource of historical information about the area.

We’re very happy that we’ve been allocated £3,000 for the project. It’s £500 short of our target but we’ll still be able to go ahead and do a lot with that £3k!

What next?

We’ll be meeting with our partners in these projects over the next month or so to arrange the projects and we’ll be blogging our progress right here so if you want to keep up to date, keep checking back!

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to add recent FixMyStreet reports to your hyperlocal site

Yesterday, we added a widget showing recent reports from FixMyStreet to Lichfield Live. Here’s how you can do the same on your WordPress site.

  1. Go to FixMyStreet and search for your area

    Click to enlarge

  2. When the list of reports loads, click on the “Get updates” link at the bottom

    Click to enlarge

  3. Now choose whether you want reports by radius, boundary or authority and click the orange icon next to your choice.

    Click to enlarge

  4. You’ll be presented with a page like this:

    Click to enlarge

  5. Copy the website address from the address bar

    Click to enlarge

  6. Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to the Appearance > Widgets page
  7. Drag the RSS widget onto your sidebar

    Click to enlarge

  8. Now paste the website address into the first box, and fill out the other details and hit save

    Click to enlarge

  9. You’re new widget will display proudly on your site!

    Click to enlarge

Also see how to add recent FixMyTransport reports to your hyperlocal site.

Posted in Hyperlocal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to add recent FixMyTransport reports to your hyperlocal site

Yesterday, we added a widget showing recent reports from FixMyTransport to Lichfield Live. Here’s how you can do the same on your WordPress site.

  1. Go to FixMyTransport, click on “issues near you” and search for your area

    Click to enlarge

  2. When the list of reports loads, click on the “Get updates on issues on and around this map” link at the top

    Click to enlarge

  3. You’ll be presented with a page a gobbledygook like this:

    Click to enlarge

  4. Copy the website address from the address bar

    Click to enlarge

  5. Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to the Appearance > Widgets page
  6. Drag the RSS widget onto your sidebar

    Click to enlarge

  7. Now paste the website address into the first box, and fill out the other details and hit save

    Click to enlarge

  8. You’re new widget will display proudly on your site!

    Click to enlarge

Also see how to add recent FixMyStreet reports to your hyperlocal site.

Posted in Hyperlocal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lichfield Live mentioned in review of hyperlocal media

Our flagship project, Lichfield Live, has been mentioned in a review of the hyperlocal media landscape.

Here and Now is a review conducted for NESTA by Damian Radcliffe who has long tracked the sector whilst working at Ofcom.

It’s very interesting reading for anyone interested in the hyperlocal sector.

Posted in Mentions | Leave a comment

6,000 articles comprising 1,718,309 words written by 74 contributors over 34 months

Lichfield motorbike club event set to mark military deaths in Afghanistan was the 6,000 article published on Lichfield Live since the very first way back in January 2009 (then The Lichfield Blog, of course).

Having a slight fascination with statistics I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a look at those 6,000 and analyse them. Here’s what I found.

  • Total posts: 6,000
  • Total words: 1,718,309
  • Total contributors: 74
  • Total comments: 3,693
  • Average posts/month: 176.5

Quite impressive even if I do say so myself! What I find most revealing is when you split the posts down by contributor;

[cf]articles_by_contributor[/cf]

Unsurprisingly Ross is right up there with the majority of posts – a massive 4,606! Everyone go give him a pat on the back for that continuously sterling effort.

Of course you also see there the familiar names of contributors who have continued to provide new content week in, week out and some of whom have been with us since the very beginning. Great to see such unrelenting support!

A similar story is true of the breakdown of words by contributor;

[cf]words_by_contributor[/cf]

Talking of contributors, it’s interesting to see how long some of them have been with us. This of course is no measure of quality 😉 but it’s interesting nonetheless. Sorry it’s a little hard to see… hovering on the bars reveals the names;

[cf]contributor_time[/cf]

It’s great that some of the longest serving contributors are still with us!

Of course one of the cornerstones of our ‘philosophy’ is that we provide the news and let you lot do the opinion. No surprises in the most commented articles, then;

[cf]most_commented[/cf]

By subject, that’s something like;

[cf]most_commented_by_topic[/cf]

So who are the most vocal Lichfeldians then? Again, probably no surprises for those of your familiar with our comments section…

[cf]top_commenters[/cf]

Funny to see our old friends Class Crisis there :) and I’m sure Bob will surpass me very soon to take the number 2 spot!

Not sure about you but that’s certainly satisfied by statistical itchings for a while. Maybe I’ll look again when we reach our third birthday (it’s very soon y’know, we’re expecting cake!)…

So if you’re one of the contributors above, or one of the many commenters – thank you! Here’s to the next 6,000.

Posted in Contributors, News | Leave a comment

From Contributor to Comedian (almost)

We rely heavily on volunteers and so when one flees the nest and goes on to greater things we feel kinda proud.

One such contributor is Ben Lowe, who wrote a number of articles for Lichfield Live from 2009-2011.

He won the coveted accolade of 2011 Student Journalist of the Year at the Midlands Media Awards whilst being snapped up by MTV in the same month.

Now Ben has shown us exactly why by uploading a documentary he created for his MA Dissertation (taught in part by our own Ross Hawkes, no less).

Posted in Contributors | Tagged | Leave a comment

Renaming The Lichfield Blog

Today I finally pushed the button on a long overdue name change for The Lichfield Blog.

It’s now called Lichfield Live.

It’s a big change, especially having built up a following over the past two and a half years. But for nearly all the time we’ve been going we’ve talked about a name change.

For ages, I personally blocked any name change saying it was too risky, potentially losing the reputation we had built up. It was however hard to escape the fact that having “blog” in our name was causing problems with how we were perceived.

So after much deliberation we made the tough decision to change name. Back in February we asked a group of our closest supporters and contributors to help us come up with something new. It took a while but on March 29 we finally decided on Lichfield Live.

“Lichfield Live” is more suitable for several reasons;

  • It sounds new. We’re very much a “new media” operation.
  • It sounds timely. We’ve built a reputation for being first to have the news about what’s going on in Lichfield.
  • It fits with what’s on. Our most popular section is “What’s On” and nicely ties into events.

One thing was clear all along in this process – we didn’t want to lose The Lichfield Blog as a brand so we’re going to do something very special with that.

We pride ourselves on leaving the comment and opinion to our readers but we also know there is space for some good, well-written comment pieces. So, we’ll be turning The Lichfield Blog into a brand new web site providing comment and opinion pieces from specially selected “columnists” who live in, work in or represent Lichfield.

That’s not all. For almost all of our two and a half years we’ve covered Lichfield District – that’s the City of Lichfield, Burntwood, Chasetown and surrounding villages. We understand that Burntwood has it’s own identity and it’s own going’s on.

So, very soon, we’ll be launching Burntwood.org. It’ll contain all the Burntwood & Chasetown news we have on Lichfield Live as well as extra items from two incredibly passionate Burntwood residents who have agreed to take the site on.

We’re very excited about this change and I hope you’ll continue to follow us as we grow :)

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Introducing Lichfield Community Media

Hopefully you’re aware of The Lichfield Blog, a leading hyperlocal news site covering the residents and businesses of Lichfield District.

The success of The Lichfield Blog (TLB) led to the creation of Lichfield Community Media (LCM), an umbrella organisation which exists to provide news and information to the communities of Lichfield District through the use of digital technologies.

Much of this aim is served through operating TLB which is supported by LCM’s other ventures, like local t-shirt brand Viva LichVegas.

This site will chronicle our activities and our quest to make hyperlocal news delivery a sustainable exercise.

Posted in News | Leave a comment