Magazine and Production: Hay Festival Pieces and Research into Local Media

For my news story, I wanted to write about the Hay Festival this year. Being in Hay-on-Wye during the festival meant that I may have had a chance to see some of the events during the 10 days. It turned out that I didn’t actually have enough time with working to see any thing.

Photos of Hay Festival ’12 by Finn Beales

What I did have a chance to see was the Jubilee celebrations that went through the town of books today. The band that proceeded through Hay-on-Wye was a lot smaller than expected and with only a few low quality photographs, the story didn’t really have much going for it. I think that if I had more to write about, it would have been a good local story, seeing as no one seemed to be covering it (professionally anyway!). With only a small digital camera and no means of recording any quotes (especially as I had only enough time off of work to be excused to take some quick images and then resume serving customers), the story didn’t have a chance to really blossom into anything much unfortunately.

It did make me want to delve into how easy it could be to cover the Hay Festival going on in comparison to such a small, aside event which seemed to be shadowed by the literary giants.

When looking for a story based in Hay-on-Wye, I knew I could rely a lot on social media to get some quotes and the vibe from the festival this year without having to be there in person. It was the 25th year the festival had been running and it seemed to be just as successful as previous years. Albeit there was a noticeable difference in the quantity of tourists that came for the festival this year but this was most likely caused by the amount of rain we had for the majority of the 2 weeks.

I looked at the festival’s Twitter which I follow anyway and under the hashtag 25, the festival was seeming to continue with its popularity:


The Hay Festival also has its own news article blog which is constantly updated and offers some of the highlights/ summaries of the big events of the day:

I really like how it provides all the valuable information that some of the discussions offer, if people like myself couldn’t make it. I also like how they have the best-selling flavours of ice cream on the site, I felt that added a really sweet touch. The tone is very informative and very well written and articulated. I really like the structure of the pieces with their bullet points and pull out quotes from the events. I also like the blog itself, the layout is very plain and minimalistic but does the job!

The Telegraph, who sponsors the Hay Festival, keeps posting articles about the highlights as well. I found that they have the best images on their website. I do prefer the style of the news articles on the Hay Festival blog, though.


Finally, I had a look at some news stories published in the local papers because I wanted to explore the different elements to their pieces ie the tone of voice they used and their picture quality etc.

Here’s an example:


I like the style of the writing and the tone that the journalist used for this piece on Will Young visiting the River Cafe in Glasbury (near Hay-on-Wye). I know that Will Young has visited the Hay Festival before and went canoeing with the Wye Valley Canoe guys. Seeing as the picture is quite low quality, I could have just stuck with doing the Jubilee piece. Just being there and experiencing the event gave me ample information. And albeit most news stories have a lot of quotes, it isn’t essential. People might just want to know what happened and get a jist of the day if they missed out!

So… I’ve decided to try to get the news story about the Jubilee event!


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