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Is That Really News?

20th November 2014

We’ve had quite some debate on this both on air and on our facebook page over the last few days so as News Editor, here is the official line on what news we choose to be newsworthy.

First off, a little lesson on how news fits within KLFM.

KLFM is a commercial business. We are a local company operating like any shop, or garage in King’s Lynn. We have a parent company (UKRD) but as long as we turn a profit and stay out of trouble, they don’t really factor in. We make our living through advertising, and people want to advertise with us, because lots of people listen to us. So getting lots of listeners (preferably ones who like to spend money in the local area) is basically our biggest priority.

However, we also have rules to follow from Ofcom, and on top of that, we are a team who feels very strongly about proving a service to our listeners, and making sure we are somewhere very near the centre of this community of people in West Norfolk.

The rules state that News cannot be used to make money, and it must be independent, balanced, and free. I could go on to write an essay about the duty of a journalist to represent society and hold everyone to account. (Google the “Fourth Estate” to read more.)

Now most stations and companies generally leave the news geeks in a side room, and concentrate on getting bouncy presenters to promise the music will be back in just a few minutes time OR they dumb it down to the point where it’s just pointless.  

Here at KLFM we try and do something revolutionary: We want people to LISTEN to the news… AND THEN we can inform them about stuff, raise awareness, make them think, make them feel, make them do something good.

The key phrase is “Relevant to Our Listeners.”

Now you can argue that people should know about the UN Report on atrocities committed by North Korea, or that they should have a view on whether institutional racism has reached a critical point in American Policing with the events in Ferguson acting as a catalyst for change.

But why?

When it comes right down to it, why should 34 year old Suzie in Wootton, and 43 year old Rob in Downham know about that? Is it not, at the very least, horribly patronising to suggest that the things they ARE interested in are not good enough, not clever enough, not important enough?

We do a huge amount of research into what our listeners care about. Nearly all of them watch telly, and the vast majority are not watching Dispatches or Newsnight, they’re watching X Factor and I’m a Celeb. Not only that but they care about these shows, they will talk about them at work, and they want to know when there’s a new bit of gossip about them.

So guess what? We’re going to give them news about X Factor and I’m A Celeb when it comes along!

And then what happens? They listen to the news!

And then what happens? We can tell them other information that’s relevant to them.

And then what happens? A whole load of good stuff:

They may have words with their kids about being careful crossing the road. They may see a school sign and slow down. They may book that appointment to get that lump checked. They may buy a few extra bits for the Food Bank during their Christmas shop. They may realise that they did see that weird looking bloke in a van just before that burglary last week.

People tend to moan at us at times and it can feel like we’re not getting anything right. But one of the best things my journalism tutors at uni told me is that if you’re getting attacked by both sides, that generally means you’ve managed to land right in the middle, and that’s exactly where you should be.

Posted by Emily at 10:39am


Mornings Are The Best Time Of Day

24th September 2014

Morning! I’m getting used to saying that word now as you may have noticed I’ve appeared on the Breakfast Show in the last few weeks.

Now, I’ve done breakfast news for many years on various radio stations, but let me tell you, that 4am alarm does not get any easier with time.

It’s actually really rather fun, even though they made me get photos done, which is something that terrifies me.

There’s something wonderful about seeing the light growing outside, and knowing that you are in cars and homes, helping real people around King’s Lynn, and West Norfolk re-connect with the world after several hours asleep. In our plugged in, logged on world this is perhaps more important now than ever.

People often ask me how we choose the news, and what goes where in the bulletin.

This is something that’s hard to explain as it’s 80 per cent gut feeling (news sense is the technical term) and 20 per cent experience.

Any decent radio journalist will spend the 10 minutes after 6am comparing what they are doing with everyone else, and often it’s very different.

But there’s no right and wrong answer really.

First thing in the morning it’s usually very simple. People want to know three things from news:

Has the world ended while I was asleep? (If yes, stay in bed.)

What’s the weather today? (No one cares about isobars at 7am, but they do care about whether to take a brolly.)

What will people be talking about at work/the school gates?

Now this third one is where things get tricky, and this is why we will differ so much from our colleagues who broadcast on different frequencies.

It comes down to who we think are listening, and for some stations, what a man in a suit in London thinks they want to hear.

Thankfully at KL.FM we know our audience well and all our editorial decisions are taken right here in the studio at 5.30am.

There’s also an argument that we are now irrelevant thanks to social media, but this week I have been shown that we are more vital than ever.

Not for the first time, listeners contacted us to ask our journalists to provide facts on a breaking local news story, to help stem the rumours that were floating around Facebook and Twitter.

I understand the concept of ‘Citizen Journalism’ although I hate the phrase. (I have a first aid certificate, I don’t go round announcing myself as a Citizen Doctor.) But I am incredibly proud of the reputation that KL.FM and its news team has, that people know us and trust us to provide accurate, up-to-date information.

Having said that we will never stop wanting to hear from listeners who are our eyes and ears on the street. I love the relationship we have with people in the local area, and being on Breakfast is giving me a chance to get to know you a bit better. See you tomorrow!

Posted by Emily at 8:40pm


Reasons Not To Do Your CV After Watching Thor...

13th September 2014

I am the story teller, the knower of things.

(Broadcast Journalist)

I hold a great sadness for I know of the war, the greed, the unfairness of it all, and the numbers who live and work and die.

(While we do not always cover conflicts in the Central African Republic for example, I consume huge amounts of media and keep abrest of international journalism. I also have a wide knowledge of the state of the UK, the disparity in wages, and spend many hours going through Census Data and publications of the Office of National Statistics.)

When death comes for one of ours, and steals them on some dark road in the terrible night, it is my voice who calls their name.

(Police will inform the media of the identity of sudden deaths once the family has given consent.)

I am justice seen, if not justice done. I am the scourge of the wrong doer.

(I read all the court lists.)

When the floods threatened our towns, I was the one crying out to the people: Be ready! Be safe! I am the warning, I am the bell that tolls loud across the land.

(We work closely with the Environment Agency and form part of their disaster planning protocol.)

I am the questioner, I am the wisest women in the world, for I know that I know nothing. Those who claim to know, who claim to represent, those are the ones I question most of all.

(We have good relationships with local authorities and MPs. This does not mean we will not hold their actions to account.)

I am the voice of balance, the voice of good, the voice in your homes. I am the voice.

Posted by Emily at 9:33am


I'm off on a HORRIBLE challenge...

12th August 2014

As a News Editor, I come into contact with all kinds of people on twitter, and it’s one of the reasons I love my job. Several months ago, the folks who organise the Lap of Anglia got in touch with me. It’s an open challenge to all fitness levels to cycle 400 miles in 4 days raising money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. They applied gentle pressure until eventually I somehow agreed that this year I would take part. It was going to be fine, because August was AGES away.

It’s tomorrow.

Now you often see people asking for sponsorship when doing these mad distances. Usually, the people asking are super fit and own a wardrobe full of lycra. One of my fellow media professionals who’s taking part talks about doing fun little rides of 70 miles on a Sunday. “Fun.” Jake the Hair does GEAR with very little training and he and Adam Newstead chat about their plans for the gym by using words like “quads” and “lats”…

I am not like that.

I did a Spin Class at St James last week and the girls at the front were chatting about seeing the Bodyguard using their Tesco vouchers. At the same time I’m struggling at the back and crying blood.

This week is probably going to be one of the most horrible of my life. I’m on a borrowed bike, and I am going to hurt a LOT. But then Prince William, who now works for the Air Ambulance, is donating his whole wage packet back to the charity and I am not going to be shown up by a mere Flight Lieutenant by dropping out now. You can hear my pitiful sobs from Wednesday morning on the Breakfast Show, and you can give me a penny a mile by texting LAPA60 £4 to 70070.

Alternatively donate online here:

Posted by Emily at 1:15pm


Journalism has your back

29th May 2014

Big Fat Planning Agenda

This is the glamorous world of journalism.

Seriously, journalists in your city are reading documents this long and ten times as boring every day in your town and city.

They do it so you get to know if anything strange is going on in your local area, if local officials are doing their jobs right.

Most of the time everything is fine, and we read these things and come away with nothing.

But just so you know, we have your backs.

Posted by Emily at 5:44pm



2014 (11)

2013 (3)

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Is That Really News?

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13th September 2014 9:33am

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