Michael MacLeod


Michael MacLeod I am a multimedia journalist based in Edinburgh.
I've worked on more than 700 stories, blog posts and multimedia pieces for the Guardian.

Interests: Open(ing) govt, good data visualisation, raising awareness of planning issues, architecture, pollution-free transport and The Highline. It's fair to say I'm obsessed with music too.

I joined STV in 2012 after the Guardian's year-long Local project came to an end.

Spent the end of summer 2011 with the Guardian Books team covering the Edinburgh international Book Festival - the biggest on earth! What a lovely bunch. See the coverage here. Have also recently written for the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland magazine. Chipped in with some future media consultancy for two political monitoring firms. A long-term goal is to roll-out the Planning App Map across every council in the UK. Read more about it here on the Guardian.

The Beatblogger role included multimedia journalism, council reporting, sourcing regular contributed content and collaborative community projects.

I'm qualified with a diploma in journalism, including shorthand at 120 words per-minute. Before The Guardian I spent two years with a national press agency and three years at an award-winning local newspaper group.

EMAIL: edinburghmacleod@gmail.com
CALL: 07855 515747


Getting 40,000 hits in a day on BuzzFeed is easy


Mucking about with a @buzzfeeduk community account to see how it worked. Got 40k hits in a day for #drunkchristmastrees and unexpectedly it made its way to the front page of buzzfeed.com

Most interesting things I learned from this experiment: @BuzzFeedUK’s post promotion incentives are addictive; increasing with views. Genius.

So, when your post gets 1000 or 10k hits, you get option to boost other folks’ posts with certain power stickers.

Plus look at that analytics dashboard! http://t.co/Mr09d6aqwN Their Community pages are open so anyone can post. It’s fun & easy. For them, it’s free content.

Anyway, here’s the post: http://t.co/RmG87vqlue Took 30 mins to make in easy CMS and pics were my own but you can link to others. Too easy.

Give it a bash, especially if you’re a new journalist looking for a job. Your article can be much more interesting, useful or worthy than my silly trees one. It’s a publishing platform that’s already got an audience. All you have to do is give it what people want, if that’s your thing.

Suzanne Mackie, Account Manager, Indigo

I worked with Mike in the Abbeymount Media days (him on the light side, me on the dark PR side) and he’s a nice guy with a good nose for a story. He’s also very good at getting the story by being a nice guy!

Since leaving and leading the Guardian Edinburgh blog, he has kept me entertained with many interesting local tales and insight.

Good luck on your next adventure Michael! x

Alexander Lawrie - Freelance Journalist

I had the pleasure of working with Michael for a year at Deadline News Agency and I can honestly say I have never met a more natural and engaging journalist. He takes pride in his work, no matter how meaningless or trivial the story, and his time at Edinburgh Guardian just proved what he can go on to achieve. Dedicated, passionate and a great nose for a story - all the attributes needed to be a superb professional.

Comment by Claire McBain, Bread PR

Worked with Michael only briefly, but he is very passionate about what he does and, from what I’ve heard from my clients, a brilliant interviewer.

Comment by Giselle Dye, Pagoda: Enthusiastic and engaging

We worked with Michael on a number of stories for RCAHMS - lots of them picture based - and he was qreat at making sure the stories looked good and always looked for ways to encourage more input from the blog’s readers. He also took the time and trouble to come and talk to our team about the Guardian blog and how he worked - very useful. Hope he goes on to something even better.

A breath of fresh air! Councillor Rob Munn, SNP Leith ward

I’ve enjoyed working with Michael during his stint at Guardian Edinburgh. He has always been open and helpful particularly over his coverage of the Leith Biomass proposal. His role as ‘beatblogger’ was to report on Edinburgh using new media and he certainly did that especially in his filming of a fellow councillor completing a suduko puzzle during a meeting of Full Council! I wish him well in whatever he finds himself doing in the future.

Comment by Phyllis Stephen of The Edinburgh Reporter: Working with Michael MacLeod is fun!

I have admired Michael’s easy manner and unflustered style while producing a very professional and extensive output on The Guardian blog. I worked specifically with him on the live blogging event which we conducted at a Scottish Parliamentary hustings in Edinburgh. It was great fun to collaborate with him on this. He managed to grasp instantly the important points and precis them into snappy comment. His ability to use all media is outstanding, as can be seen on The Guardian blog. He has a way of writing ably about any subject and employing sound and photos where appropriate.

His grasp of what the beatblogger job could do was instantly felt here in Edinburgh when he took over the role. He managed to expand it to anyone who wanted or needed a voice.It was clear that Michael saw his role as an enabler rather than as a competitive attention-seeking individual trying to get his byline.

Apart from all of that he conceals a steely determination, a wealth of journalistic experience and is genuinely a very nice chap!

Emily Dodd, Writer for Greenerleith and Education Officer for Changeworks

You have been a huge inspiration to me and a great encourager. There are so many examples I could use, I’ll pick three in an effort to be concise.

I was so impressed with your coverage of the Changeworks Waste Free Edinburgh bike givaway at the Bike Station. You put parents, children and myself at ease as you filmed and put together a fabulous documentary. You captured the success of the project in reducing waste but also, the excitement and enthusiasm of the winning pupils. The children became celebrities as the documentary was played on big screens in assemblies across Edinburgh. You helped children to feel important and encouraged active citizenship.

Many months ago you bookmarked ‘Dora and the naughty fox’, an audio clip I’d recorded of Italian Granny Dora. She was talking about a fox stealing her shoes. I was thrilled to bits to see Dora on the Guardian Edinburgh. I’d just started writing for Greener Leith and it helped me to think this whole blogging thing wasn’t a ridiculous notion of mine and that I could do it. And that’s the support you give to individuals all over Edinburgh, you write about things that matter to them, you tell peoples stories, encourage people and encourage community.

When I was trying to persuade people to do the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, it seemed few cared about doing it (or reading about it). When you did a feature on my campaign (I was in shock when I saw it) there was so much support generated that the Media Director of the RSPB wrote congratulating me and thanking me for all that I’d done to help them. Much of this was down to you. 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with you as fellow Edinbuzz volunteer and in getting to know you, I’ve seen you find the time to help people whenever you can, despite being ridiculously busy. You go above and beyond the call of duty. For example you’ve taken the time to give me feedback on my writing that has encouraged me and helped me to improve.   

Your writing for the Guardian Local is such a valuable asset to Edinburgh it will be missed by many. I’m looking forward to reading about what a talented individual such as yourself will do next. 


PS Sorry this is so long, one of your helpful tips was on being concise, I’ve broken the rule on this occasion (:

Hope our paths cross again - comment by Stewart Argo, media manager, City of Edinburgh Council

Just a quick one as getting ready for the election! It’s been good working with you in both your Deadline and Guardian guises, and I hope we get to deal with you again in some capacity. I know my team feel the same way. Whether on good or bad stories, we always have time for people who are straight with us and fair with the facts. Best of luck - the journalistic world increasingly needs people like you. (My preferred cake would be millionaire’s shortbread, ta.)

Excellent at engaging with the community - comment by Milo McLaughlin

Michael was extremely supportive of the grassroots creative scene in Edinburgh during his time as BeatBlogger, and went far beyond the call of duty to keep up to date with what was happening and was instrumental in bringing a variety of creative communities closer together through his efforts.

As a guest blogger and someone who was featured on the Guardian Edinburgh site, I found him a pleasure to work with. He also showed a natural knack for engaging with a wide variety of people through both the blog and social media, and in the real world through local events and gatherings. He’ll be sorely missed.

Personable, informed and great for community spirit - comment by Hannah Lister

Michael has reported for the guardian Edinburgh in a interesting, quirky and personable style. I have often found myself retweeting his online articles or always finding a great interest in them. He has consistently followed up ongoing commmunity campaigns, keeping the people involved and the wider community in Edinburgh informed and up to date. This is a skill which is rare in other current reporting, where journalists simply move on to another story, leaving the reader in the lurch. His reporting of Blindcraft helped my campaign immensly, keeping all in Edinburgh informed on an issue I feel would have been swept under the rug by every other journalist. I would go as far to say Michael took the lead on this issue and reported consistently on it, following the story through.

There is a huge void without this kind of community reporting, and I hope that someone can work with Michael to re-establish this community news which has always been quirky, entertaining, enlightening and personable.

Comment by Edinburgh Spotlight - Enthusiastic and talented individual

Michael is extremely hard working and was enthusiastic for his role as the Edinburgh Beatblogger.  Many people do not realise how much work he actually put into the Guardian column, spending many more hours a day writing than he was paid for.  People of Edinburgh wanted to share their stories with him as he’s a compassionate and trustworthy man.  He also volunteered at the Edinbuzz surgeries (helping people in the community use social media) as well as countless others by giving them a voice on the Guardian blog. There is no ego with Michael as he regularly linked to other news sources, including us. 

Comment from Lynne McNicoll, Charity Founder

Michael interviewed me last year about my fundraising.  He was brilliant - put me at ease instantly, was genuinely interested in what I had to say and wrote a lovely piece.  A really nice man too.  Defo employ him!

New chapter ahead - comment by Shaun Milne

Michael was part of my news team while we were both working for Deadline News. He wasn’t just a capable reporter, but a tenacious, dogged and intelligent one. Hardworking too and trustworthy, a stand out in a busy newsroom. So much so he became my De facto first choice for deputising on the news desk, trusted with the big stories and those that needed digging or deft touch. When the chance to take over the Beatblogging role in Edinburgh arose, there was never any doubt in my mind that he had to go for it. He made it his own and it’s sad for him that his tenure, and that of his colleagues, has been cut short just as he was stretching his literary legs. He’ll be a better journalist for the experience and go on to do good things. It’s the end of one chapter, sure. But he’s got plenty of writing left in him yet.

Comment by Alan MacIntosh

I’ve found Mike to be a consistently hard-working and supportive friend of hyperlocal news generators in general, and of the Broughton Spurtle in particular. He has a good nose for stories, good social skills, and genuine writing ability: I found several of his own online pieces extremely lucid, timely and helpful. He’s also a thoroughly decent and likeable man, so if you can afford to pay him, give him a rise.