Posted by: Ciaran | March 12, 2010

Production day twelve

I love the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It throws up great exclusives and quirky stories, though the pay off is that it is incredibly frustrating at times as the exemptions contrive to subdue even the most carefully worded of requests. There is a danger of over-reliance on FoI, but used judiciously and in the right circumstances it can get you a nice front page splash.

Which, luckily enough, was what happened for me today with this story about the travel expenses claimed by Cardiff councillors. I had my first look at the data on Tuesday afternoon, and from then on I’ve had to spend hours making an enormous spreadsheet to take in to account all the various permutations of claims and percentages. But it was all worth it in the end – and to put the seal on it, I got some new data from a different request sent to me almost at exactly the same time as I filed my copy first thing this morning.

I spent most of the day itself watching the BBC Parliament channel, as Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan was attempting to push her Private Members’ Bill on regulating tanning salons through to the House of Lords. It was a lengthy and at times quite dreary debate, with a number of proposed amendments being rejected before the bill itself got through its third reading. After the debate I did a telephone interview with Mrs Morgan and then hastily wrote some copy for our production day publication, the Cardiff Evening News.

Just as I settled down with a cup of tea to go through some emails and wait to see the finished product, I was sent out to take a photograph of a bus. Further proof, if it were needed, that no two days in journalism are ever the same.

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