Old-fashioned and New Journalism
Pulitzer Center grantee Sarah Neville:
The Financial Times’ Austerity Audit has proved a vehicle for some of the most innovative digital journalism the paper has ever done.
But the genesis of the idea was a piece of old-fashioned shoe leather reporting.
In November 2011, in order to write a piece about changes to welfare benefits for the long-term sick, I had visited Barnsley, in the former industrial heartland of the north of England, where large numbers were affected by the imminent shake up.
In passing, a number of people mentioned to me, in interviews, their concerns about the likely impact on local businesses and shops of a wider raft of welfare reforms which, from April this year, would reduce the scope of benefit entitlements and also the value of benefits.
It struck me that if we could find a way of calculating exactly how much money was being taken out of local economies – and the hit to spending power – we would have a truly original take on the austerity story and one which would have a particular appeal for theFT’s business readership.