Hi, I'm Ben Hazell. I used to blog here about the media, but now I work there I don't write here anymore.
I'm the Web Publishing Editor at - I find better ways to tell stories, developing tools, training and practice for journalists.

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The Blog

Rarely updated now, used during Journalism MA at the University of Sheffield.

Blogging the elections

Saturday, 3 May 2008
Today I was covering the local elections for the university news website, JUS News.

We had a team of us at the results count, and a supporting gang back at the newroom to build up coverage. That's about twenty times the manpower of any real news organisation, and I think we did a good job. I know it seemed like Sky News was asking us for info at one point, and we had better contacts than most.
I was mainly taking pictures for the live feed and gossip blogging as we went along, which all went pretty well and was well recieved.
Overall, a triump for wi-fi - and special thanks to Kate as it was her laptop that let us get anything done when mine failed.

The blog is copied below in full, with all errors intact.

-live at the count -


Well, the results are starting to come in, and we're sending info back online as fast as we can.

It's hot in here, a huge room full of people running from table to table. The light is poor so photos are blurred, and we're trapped up in the press gallery far from the VIPs - so were using a lot of zoom in our coverage.

There are hundreds of people below us, so stalking the leaders with our cameras is tricky... look away and you loose them for 20 minutes.
On the subject of pictures, most of the counters seem to lack a sense of drama, passing out voting slips rather than tipping out the ballot boxes properly.


Mass movement - I think the results are going to come in in a flood. It looks like a recount in the central area, and from the results we've seen Labour majorities are being slashed. Still no sight of the only Tory in the village, but the Dore table is awash with blue - they're clearly concentrating hard on their foothold in Sheffield.


Broomhill is bout to declare, seat of the Lib Dem leader Paul Scriven, and my home ward. Another hard man to track with a lense, so hopefully he'll stand still on the podium.
This live reporting business isn't going smoothly, but then we never really believed it would. The connection is slow, and we're only allowed one power supply between 3 laptops and two TV cameras. Next time we should bring out own splitter block.
Oh, Lib Dem leader directly beneath me - time to photograph his bald patch again. No... he's running to the plinth.
He's won as expected, and looks happy, but I imagine he's got his eye on the bigger picture.


Firth Park - The BNP are standing here - I havn't seen the candidate yet, they declined to take the stand and were booed when the results were read.
700+ votes for the BNP - well ahead of the Conservatives and Greens.

We've also just had insider news that Central ward has gone to the Greens - that now give them total control and Labour are out. A bad day for Labour gets worse.

Oh and Blunkett's here - hiding behind a pilar at the moment.


Lib Dems just won Gleadless which is a big and unexpected step for them. Paul Scriven looks very happy down on the floor.

We also got confirmation that the Greens took central.


The interviews are starting to arrive, all exclusive on JUS News. Plenty of people seem prepared talk to us which s very kind of them.
we're now looking to get the results up as fast as possible for you.


The first BNP candidate has shown their face on the stand. More Boos. They're starting to come second in quite a few wards around the city. Aside from that, everything is ruing as expected.

Graves Park ward just declared and we got to enjoy the local socalist candidate giving a clenched fist salute.


Big news - The Liberal Democrats have won control of the city.
That's the story from our inside sources... we're wating for confirmation, but this is big news. Labour have held this city tight for 50 years, and a blow here represents a major knockback on a national leave.

Oooh, must go, Blunkett will talk to us now. Will see how he feels about the Labour disaster today.


We just interviewed David Blunkett and he admitted that Labour have lost control - The Lib Dems are looking at a 6 seat lead across the city.
He also had this to say: "It's now clear that the Liberal Democrats have responsibility for the city. I very much hope they don't abandon our strategy of closing the gap."
"I hope the Lib Dems will represent the whole city now, not just the privileged areas that elected them."
"The message at the moment is anyone but Labour."
"We've got a bloody nose today."


The Blues out!
The Torys have just lost their only seat at Dore and Totley - The Lib Dems took it, meaning that the conservative party no longer has a single councilor in the UK's fourth large city.


Jan Wilson, leader of the Labour Party in Sheffield:
"Obviously we're disappointed with the result."
"It's part of the national picture."
"We're going to meet later to talk things over and try and see where we went wrong, and see what we need to do to regain the faith of the people of Sheffield."
"Where do we go from here? Home for a cup of tea!"

We just spoke to Paul Scriven, the Lib Dem leader and a very happy man.
He said that it would be wrong to see this as a reflection of the national view, and he thought many votes were tactical, but that their party represented the best overall compromise.

And that's it, we're on or way back to the office to cut and paste and edit and take a good hard look at these results. But in brief - The King is dead - Long live the King!



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