Journalist and internet guru Greg Hadfield shared Fleet Street experiences and innovative ideas for an “open-data” Brighton and Hove with an audience which included Brighton Journalist Works students, writes Al Horner.
From regional reporting at the Wakefield Express to Fleet Street stints at the Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Sunday Express and DailyTelegraph, Greg forged a 30-year career in journalism out of sheer hard work and unflinching enthusiasm for reporting.
The talk, at The Eagle in Brighton, was at the February meeting of BFONG (Brighton Future of News Group) and was full of enlightening insight, interesting asides about the world of reporting and honest admissions into the pressures which go with the job – “every deadline is like pulling teeth,” Hadfield laughed.
His résumé is, to be frank, littered with the kind of illustrious positions on national papers aspiring journalists like me can only dream of. However, Greg elected to spend a sizable chunk of his speech happily recalling his time at the Wakefield Express and discussing the merits of local journalism. To the Journalist Works students who are each dipping our toes into community reporting on The Argus as part of the course, it was great to hear.
Greg is currently campaigning to make Brighton and Hove an “open data” city. If he is successful, the region could soon be one the first places in which local authorities’ statistics and data is all readily available online. The face of journalism could very well change in a way hinted at by the data-born expenses scandal and Wikileaks stories that dominated last year’s headlines.
Clutching a copy of George Orwell’s seminal “Why I Write,” Greg said the author is his inspiration. But while Orwell explored the hop-fields of Kent and streets of Paris for stories, Hadfield is exploring a more digital landscape for the future of journalism.
“Open data is changing our lives for good,” he said, “People living and loving in Brighton and Hove can create a new form of journalism using data and produce something George Orwell would have been delighted with.”
Follow Greg Hadfield on Twitter: @GregHadfield
BFONG blog: brightonfutureofnews.wordpress.com
Greg explains Open Data: Open Data Cities: A lifeline for local newspapers