Investigation skills pay off for Hallam graduate

Journalism graduate Shehla Ali has used the investigative skills she learned at Sheffield Hallam University in her job as a digital marketing executive.

Shehla, who graduated in 2011,  works for based in Leeds,  Yorkshire.

She targeted local authorities across the UK with Freedom of Information requests about charges levied for residential parking, on behalf of the company Trusted Dealers.

The results revealed that councils make on average £291,000 per year from issuing permits and there is a ‘postcode lottery’ of charges.

Londoners can expect to pay £360 per year to park their car near their homes, while others parked for free.

The investigation discovered Birmingham has the highest variations in parking permit prices, varying from £16 per year to £210 in the Jewellery Quarter.

Some local authorities refused to reveal how they spend the money raised, while others said it was used to offset the cost of council tax or was reinvested into road parking schemes.

Shehla’s story has been picked up by Yahoo News and other media.

Journalism lecturer Dr David Clarke said: “Shehla’s success demonstrates how skills developed by investigative journalists, such as how to run a successful FOI campaign, are highly valued by media employers.”

Shehla said: “Having transferable journalism skills means you can still apply them to PR campaigns. Investigative journalism was always my favourite module and it just shows FOI requests are a great way to create a story.”




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