Author: John Guinn

All change: Cranfield and Marston Vale Chronicle for local news in Cranfield and Marston Moretaine Ward

The end of an era I'm now writing local news Search for: Cranfield and Marston Vale Chronicle In June 2012 I broadcasted my first travel show. The last one was broadcast on 29th June 2017. That’s 227 shows (it started monthly, then fortnightly going weekly). I ended the show as my Masters course at Birmingham City University made me look outside of the travel world. Trying to base every assignment on a travel story wasn’t really helpful. I needed to leave my comfort zone. It was during my first year that I came across hyperlocal websites. Quality local news (in my area anyway) seems to be declining and my village isn’t really covered. So, to pass the time between the end of my first year and the start of the second I decided to start up a hyperlocal website covering the Central Bedfordshire Council’s Cranfield and Marston Moretaine Ward. I decided to call it the Cranfield and Marston Vale Chronicle. The Travel Researcher website will still be updated, but not that often. I can still be contacted if you have any travel questions. I still have my contacts so I should be able to find you your answer....

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Fog lights and how not to do a FOI story

The Freedom of Information Act has helped to develop many great news stories This isn't one of them Search for: Highway Code Rule 236 My FOI story was going to be based around Highway Code 236, drivers that ignore this Rule can be fined. Based on anecdotal evidence from a driving instructor, my own observations and posts on community forums I expected the number fines issued to be increasing year on year. There was also going to be a map of hotspots showing where the driving offences occurred. For non road users, Rule 236 states: “You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.” This blog is about how I sent out a round-robin Freedom of Information (FOI) request to see if there was a news story hidden within the data. The Freedom of Information Act, 2002   The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) was passed by the UK Parliament in 2002 and came into force on 1 January 2005. It enshrined a “general right of access” to information held by all public bodies, subject to certain absolute exemptions and cases where disclosure was not deemed to be in the public interest.   It applies to over 100,000 public authorities including government departments, schools and...

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Mapping data: A review of map generating websites

Tables can be a boring way to show data When it is a travel story, mapping the data makes more sense Search for: Making boring data interesting Before I started my MA Online Journalism, I used tables to display data in my blogs. These are very functional, but they are also very dull. I have now been shown many ways to display data that are both informative and pretty to look at. This blog is about my quest to find a way to present information about 32 airports. Being a travel story it makes sense to use a map. My goal was to generate a map which: Was of the UK Would accept a spreadsheet, this could be Google Sheets, .xlsx or .csv formats Had a suitable icon to show the airport location Had some way of displaying the data when the airport was selected – I wanted this to be shown with a MOUSEOVER type command The user could visit the airport’s website from a link in the data box/ToolTip This had to be a free service This blog is divided as follows: The data Google My Maps Google Fusion Tableau Datawrapper Others Copyright considerations As these websites are free, would I have to compromise on some of my needs? The spreadsheet data The data is the extra charges that a passenger may have to pay before they finally...

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Unexpected costs are catching UK holidaymakers out

Average family will spend nearly a fifth more than their holiday budget in unanticipated costs Consumer expert Simon Read shares his holiday budget planning tips Search for: Holidaymakers have to find an extra £536.80 due to poor planning New research from ATOL, the holiday protection scheme, has found British families are willing to spend 13% more on their holiday this year compared to last year, with a family of four now set to spend an average of £3,133 on their annual break. However the research into holiday spending habits also revealed unexpected holiday costs leave travellers in the red on their return. ATOL’s research revealed that two thirds of holiday makers (61%) struggle with budgeting on holiday. As families relax into their holiday it also seems they relax their purse strings with more than one in ten (12%) admitting they don’t keep track of what they are spending and then get a shock when they come to settle the bill at the end of the trip. A family of four holidaying abroad should set aside an average of £536.80, to cover unexpected costs, the equivalent of two return flights to the Canary Islands or a four day pass to Disneyland Paris. Head of ATOL, Andy Cohen, said: “Holiday costs can mount up quickly, while you’re enjoying your holiday, making it very easy to overspend. “Our research also showed the unexpected can...

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Why Easter holidays cost more than last year

Average cost of family holiday up by six per cent on last year But families can save over £1,700 off the cost of long haul destinations using budget-busting tips Search for: M&S Bank reveals the Easter Holiday budget breakers   Research from M&S Bank examined which holidays ‘beat’ and which ‘broke’ the £2,991 average cost of a week’s family holiday, and found that holidaymakers will pay an average of six per cent, or £182, more this year than last Easter.   Despite the overall rise in the cost of a family holiday, six out of 10 destinations researched all beat the £2,991 budget – leaving families free to choose whether to bank the difference or upgrade their holiday with a few little treats. Short haul budget beaters Andalucía was found to be the most affordable destination this Easter at over £1,000 less than the average.  M&S Bank says that families travelling here for a week’s holiday could upgrade to business class flights, four star accommodation and a seven-day attraction pass, and would still spend less than the average budget. Malta and Crete complete the top three most affordable holiday destinations this Easter, at £2,144 and £2,156 respectively – and are the only two destinations where a family of four can get flights for under £1,000. These budget-beating destinations would enable families to upgrade to a convertible or premium hire car and those heading...

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