Marc Wadsworth - Editor, The-Latest
This website continues to punch way above its weight and beat big media to scoops. Type 'exclusive' in the search box on the site and you will see what I mean. There's a rich mix of political, celebrity and other news uncovered by redoubtable citizen journalists on The-Latest.
We scored well with our coverage of the April 1 G20 London protests. Members responded fantastically to my request for help. This resulted in the site getting text and photography from five writers and seven contributors taking pictures. Deputy editor Deborah Hobson was "kettled" by riot police who imprisoned demonstrators in a square near the Bank of England for eight hours.
The-Latest was the first media outlet to question police tactics which resulted in many protestors being injured http://www.the-latest.com/eyewitness-brutal-police-put-us-in-a-mouse-trap. We also challenged their claim not to have attacked bystander Ian Tomlinson who died after being assaulted by officers. Big media accepted the police version of events until a member of the public produced video evidence of an assault on Ian Tomlinson.
The G20 protest was when citizen journalism in Britain first set the news agenda. Attorney General Patricia Scotland told us privately: "It's the new democracy. Everyone has a camera now." The world saw how photographic evidence from the public could be dramatically used to scrutinise the police.
We revealed the shocking views of police on the demo who boasted that "the unwashed got a good kicking" and put this into the national press.
At first, bosses at the Scotland yard headquarters of the Metropolitan Police refused to investigate but our dogged persistence forced them to launch a probe to track down their rogue bloggers.
Another of our campaigns - against a cyberstalker we have exposed - has proved so toxic that national media refuse to name him for fear of legal action http://www.the-latest.com/cyber-stalkers-four-year-long-campaign-of-hate. Yet we have repeatedly unmasked self-styled media terrorist Peter Dean Rickard.
The Latest is a proud media supporter of a landmark conference this month spawned by us covering the case http://www.digitalsafety.com It brings together international thought leaders, innovators and practitioners to look at new ways of defeating cybercrime. Speakers include former minister in the Cabinet Office, Tom Watson MP, Professor Tanya Byron and other top experts. There is a special cut price rate for The-Latest.Comers and a very limited number of free spaces for our student members.
Student journalists and media workers play an important role on The-Latest as contributors and readers. There was no better proof of this when broadcast student Laura Hawkins pulled off the scoop of her life by blagging her way into the British Prime Minister's home http://www.the-latest.com/i-blagged-my-way-past-security-into-prime-ministers-home.
We unashamedly cover some celebrity news in as much as it provides a window to big media and what they serve up to the public.
Britain's Next Top Model contestant Annaliese Dayes provided The-Latest with a weekly behind the scenes blog while she was on the reality Tv show. And big media, like the Sun, Daily Mail, magazines and radio, have featured her.
Unlike big media, which so often does a story once and then drops the subject, The-Latest is keen on stuff like the Annaliese blog and our Featured Photographer slot which showcases new talent. Also, we like to fearlessly print both sides of a controversy back to back whether it be about the conflict over Palestine or white voters and the racist British National Party.
I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to our regular contributors, including from abroad. They have ensured that The-Latest stands head and shoulders above big media in its diverse and off-beat coverage of news and views that, unlike so much of their output, is not churnalism. One of our featured contributors has shown how employment can result from your work being showcased on this site http://www.the-latest.com/my-turn-as-a-page-3-journalist
Our small but mighty operation is kept going by cash from the people who run the site. We are counting on you, our valued members, to make The-Latest an even bigger success by donating money to our charitable arm, even if you can only afford a few pounds. Please click on the 'Donate' button and see the totally secure payment system. Among the Citizen Journalist Educational Trust's activities are plans for it to run introduction to journalism training courses and get work placements and jobs for participants. And our aim is to raise enough money to pay contributors to the site - unlike wealthy big media who rip off the citizen journalists who produce their "user generated content".
We also need to build up our community of members. Please encourage at least five of your friends or colleagues to JOIN The-Latest today. And contribute content - a blog, a comment on someone's story or blog, photography or suggest a story we should cover.
I look forward to hearing from you.