Primary Source Research – ‘West Lancs Garden Tax’


I interviewed the West Lancashire customer services team via email. I asked the questions that I had previously planned.

email 1

Email sent from myself to council representative.

I received a detailed reply the next day.

email 2

Email from Graham Concannon to myself.

Graham’s response is very helpful and I will be able to quote him as a primary source in my article.

For an immediate response I rang the customer service contact number of Richmondshire council to speak to a council representative for a telephone interview.

Phone interview with James, Richmondshire Council

I was redirected to a representative that could answer my questions.

Interviewer: Hi I’m a Journalism student writing an article about charges on green waste disposal. I have a few questions I’d like to ask you if that’s okay?
Interviewee: Yeah sure. That’s fine.

Interviewer: How have the charges on waste disposal affected the area
Interviewee:It hasn’t made a massive difference really. Residents were a bit reluctant at first but the biggest impact has been to the council’s funding.

Interviewer: Have people’s attitudes towards recycling changed?
No I don’t think they have. Most people have chosen to pay for the service because they have recognised it is a necessity that the council have been good enough to previously provide for free. The service still runs in the same way so not much has changed.

Interviewer: Do you feel it has had a positive or negative response?
Interviewee: At first residents were of course not happy with the new charges. However the reasons were explained thoroughly and they were given plenty of notice. Overall, it has massively improved the council’s funding and finances as we are now  able to afford to provide these service to the public.

Interviewer: That’s great, thanks for all your help!
I did Vox Pop interviews with residents in the area that would be affected by the new charges.

Mrs Arendsen, Scarisbrick Street, Ormskirk

Interviewer: Hi, I’m a journalism student writing an article on recycling in your area. Do you have a few minutes to answer some questions?

Interviewee: Yes of course.

Interviewer: Are you aware of the introduction of charges on green waste disposal in your area?
Interviewee: Yes, I have heard it is being discussed by the council. I’ve read some things in the local paper and a few people have mentioned it in conversation.

Interviewer: How do you feel about the introduction of charges on waste disposal?
Interviewee: I suppose they feel it is necessary. The council must be struggling and this is a way of claiming back. Along with all the other charges I’m not keen on paying for something else but I suppose it can’t be avoided.

Interviewer: Would you recycle less if there was a cost?
Interviewee: Well I have a gardener at the moment as I can’t get out much myself and he has mentioned that the charges may affect his business if people are reluctant to pay. Everyone needs to recycle their green waste but I can imagine it will put people off going over the top.

Interviewer: Thanks for the chat, you’ve been very helpful.

Online Survey

I created an online survey using to gather primary research for my article. I kept it simple and only asked two multiple choice questions.

‘How often do you garden?’
This will show me how relevant the article is to readers and how many people will be interested in the topic.

‘Would charges on green waste put you off recycling?’
This will give me statistics to use in my article for how the charges will influence residents’ recycling.

This shows the results from my survey in graph format.

graph 1

Results from survey question 1.

graph 2.png

Results from survey question 2.

I can therefore use the results in my article as primary source research.


Joining Twitter

I have been using my personal twitter account for years and love posting pictures and anything that comes to mind. I am excited to incorporate social media in my journalism as it is a secret obsession of mine.

I found it quite straight forward to create a new professional account. I have chosen an appropriate display picture of myself and a brief professional bio.


Once my account was set up I was able to begin searching for relevant topics that interest me. This has shown me how quick and easy is it to follow news using twitter.


I have been aware of the use of third party tools on twitter but have not used any before now. I signed up for ‘Tweepi’, a free tool that helps you to find people to follow. I found this interesting and a helpful way to find people related to my journalism interests. 


I have not used twitter lists before to organise my timeline. I have therefore been interested in using this feature on my new account. I have been able to search for and sort categories of people depending on their topic.


I have also recently discovered Twitter Deck’, a website I would recommend to any users wanting to browse easily and multi-task. I think I will benefit from it in the future for quick browsing as it displays a lot of information at once.


I have set up my professional account using the app on my phone alongside my personal one. This will allow me to tweet on-the-go and access it at all times. I will be able to access and post news at any time or place.


I have chosen to follow my fellow classmates, module leaders and any relevant news sources/ professionals. I am excited to get started and begin using social media in my journalistic work.


Reflection Seven

Last week I received feedback on my blog so far from my course tutors. The general feedback was positive and the layout approved. The feedback has taught me to sub-edit my work more thoroughly before publishing it and to consult the style handbook when doing so. I have also taken on board advice to keep on top of reflecting my work as doing this straight away will ensure I reflect more accurately. Some slight grammar mistakes were pointed out which, again, has shown me the importance of reading over my work and editing it before publishing it.

Over the last nine weeks I have tried to manage my time fairly well, spacing out my work and ensuring I write my reflections within a week. I have learnt it is vital to attend all sessions and if not, catching up is imperative. I want to ensure I don’t fall behind so have been catching up out of class on any work not completed in class. I feel it is hard jumping between work from all modules when studying out of class so try to focus on one aspect of work at a time.

If I could go back to week one of the course, I would tell myself to keep on top of work and to constantly be looking ahead as to what I can incorporate in my work to come. I have also learnt to sub-edit every aspect of my work as easy mistakes can be made and this resolves them.

When given assigned tasks to write articles, I have struggled at first to think of topics. However, I now know that as a journalist, it is imperative to note down ideas as they come to you to. This will mean I won’t forget ideas or struggle to think of stories.


Street Names: How To Rule The Road

By Catherine Skelton

Ever wanted to have a street named after you? Just think of the streets you walk down every day, named after historical figures and local dignitaries. That street could be named after you.

In decades and centuries to come, could the descendants of your town be strolling down roads and into cul-de-sacs named after you?

The answer is yes. Yes they could. But it won’t be easy. We investigated the laws and loop holes that might help you get a street named after you.

It’s Not As Easy As You Think

Street naming regulations are enshrined in UK law. Your local borough or district council is responsible for assigning street names (and house numbers). The pertinent legislation can be found in the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 and the Public Health Act of 1925.

Naming streets is a big responsibility for council planning departments. They have to consider the character of the area, the sensitivities of residents and the needs of local organizations. There are two circumstances streets are given new names: The street is new. The street is renamed.

When new streets are developed, the Builders submit an application to the local council with suggestions for street names. They’ll usually be asked to give a number of options. The council’s planning committee will then make a final decision.

Getting streets renamed is more difficult. In most areas, residents can complain about a street name and get it changed. Most councils will have a form to submit such a complaint. A council will sometimes step in to change a street name if it’s bothering residents or local services. Say, for example, there are two streets with similar sounding names in the same town. Local councils sometimes take it upon themselves to rename a street without consulting residents.

How Do They Do It Then?

Let’s take a look at how this can work in your favor. Here are some ways you can get a street named after you. Walk through any town and you’ll see streets named after the great. There are Shakespeare Streets and Coleridge Closes, Churchill Roads and Brunel Ways. But it’s not just ancient giants of literature, politics and science that get streets named after them. Local heroes can get the same treatment.

70’s hit-maker Gerry Rafferty had a street named after him; “Paisley”, Glasgow, after his death in 2009. Though, in his case it may have been smarter to name a road after his big hit “Baker Street”.

Sometimes, fame and achievement isn’t enough. Barnett council asked its residents for volunteers willing to have there street renamed after former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. To date, no one has come forward.

Councils will consider renaming a street if enough local residents petition them. So, here’s the route to take…


Aerial view of Meadow Close and Common Lane, Thundersley (Creative commons to Edward Clack) 

Simple steps to get a street named after you

Stage One: Get yourself so well liked down your road, that asking your neighbors to rename the street after you doesn’t seem like a ridiculous idea. We suggest a campaign of voluntary community service to butter people up. Mow lawns, paint fences, shop for groceries, cat sit, arrange a street party for everyone. Basically, become a local hero.

Stage Two: Ask your fellow residents to sign a petition to change the street name and present it to the local council. Again, this approach has the disadvantage of requiring a significant amount of effort.All it will take is one grumpy hold-out down your road to destroy your well-laid plans.

Finally: One simple solution, is to build the street yourself. Under current legislation, when you create a new street in an area, you’re responsible for coming up with suggested names and presenting them to the council. As long as they fit with local guidelines on street naming, this is by far your best chance of getting a street named after you.

So, there you have it. It is possible to get a street named after you, but it’s not easy. Perhaps you should take the path of resistance and accept you can’t rule the roads. If people name a street after you when you’ve gone, then that’ll be just a bonus.

Pitch Two – Research

Secondary Research

With my article being in a curated format, I will be using secondary sources to incorporate and analyse.

News Content

I am going to use news content from both online and hard-copy newspaper as a source for my article.

Social Media

I will use social media as a way of gathering opinions and data from the public related the the topic. I will then be able to present this in my article. I will use my professional accounts as opposed to my personal account as this will be more appropriate and help to receive feedback from professionals.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook


I will use two opposing blogs with different views to use as sources in my article. This will help me form a balanced article.

Primary Sources

Even though I will be using secondary sources for this article, I feel this may be useful information in case I need it.

Northern Ireland Government:
Castle Buildings, Upper Newtownards Rd,
Belfast BT4 3PP

Reflection Six

Curation is a form of journalism that allows you to select, organise and present information using professional or expert knowledge. Sources such as social media sites and blogs can be used to do this. I am interested in this aspect of journalism as it adds an alternative format and may not be as conventional as some written articles.

List articles are a way of presenting information or news in a list format. They often have powerful, attention-grabbing headlines and include images attracting the reader. I feel they are affective today as it is known that readers often skim read lengthy articles. The short format of list articles makes it quicker and easier for the reader to obtain the information that they want. They are usually available on social media, making them easy to access on the go. They are also often shared by readers through social media and blogs, making them widely read.

This week I have began to progress my first assignment. I have learnt that it is not necessarily easy to gather primary sources as some individuals I wanted to speak to were unavailable. However, I have learnt to find ways around this and I have still found exciting research for my article. At first, I struggled to decide on a definite headline. I came over this by brain storming ideas and taking my time to decide an appropriate headline. I have learnt not to rush such decisions as it can be vital to the end article.

Pitch Two – Northern Ireland abortion act

I am interested in writing a short feature in curation format that I think will interest you. I will write about the current issues surrounding Northern Island’s abortion grounds.

//Headline: NI abortion law: “stuck in the dark ages”//

This is a topic that has recently sparked media attention after new guidelines have announced fatal foetal abnormality is not grounds for lawful termination. This is obviously a contravention topic which is why I feel curation will be an affective way to gather sources.

The slant of the article will be whether the grounds are outdated and unreasonable and how both professional and public opinions agree and disagree with this.

I will use sources such as social media sites and blogs to include in the article. I will also quote online sources and relating articles to give alternative opinions.  I intend on creating an online social media poll using twitter and will present the results in my article.

Using this format of article will allow me to see how the public are responding to this piece of news and see what is being shared and posted.

I propose the article will be around 800 words, around 100 word introduction and 700 word body of text.