Back in February we offered News Shopper subscribers the chance to ask me, the editor, anything they would like about how we work.

Being the editor used to just mean deciding what we would tell readers in print, but now journalism can and should be a two-way conversation, and I'm happy to answer the questions below, which cover a range of subjects. 

Thank you to anyone who submitted a question and thank you all for your continued support of News Shopper, which means we can continue to provide unrivalled local news coverage and investigations in south east London and north Kent. 

Here are my answers to your questions.

How much investigative journalism do you do these days? 

Quite a lot, and certainly more than most local news providers are able to. We're very lucky to benefit from the services of the multiple award-winning investigative reporter Charles Thomson. He is afforded the time to work on in-depth investigations and bring to light scandals and stories that would otherwise go untold. Just in the last few weeks he has told the story of a Greenwich man whose council flat was so mouldy that mushrooms sprouted in the bathroom, highlighted the fact that TfL will not tell us how much ULEZ damage is costing the taxpayer, and questioned what borough councils are doing to prevent knife crime in London. 

Are news reports and articles proof-read by sub-editors or other staff prior to being published on the website?

In the most part, yes. All stories are edited by a content editor before being published, save for a few instances. Breaking news published early in the morning and after office hours in the evening will sometimes be published by a reporter if it needs to go up straight away to inform readers about an incident e.g. a road closure, and it's the same at weekends and on bank holidays. But reporters will have at least a few months' experience behind them before they are given these shifts and if unsure they can always contact an editor to check a story. 

What are you doing about the readers who hijack the comments section on many articles? 

Unfortunately there is a small, but committed, group of people who are intent on leaving nasty comments on our stories. We want News Shopper to be a website for everyone to use and get involved in debating news, so we spend a lot of time deleting and blocking these accounts. Unfortunately at the moment it's relatively easy for these people to create new accounts and continue leaving hateful comments, so our developers are working on an additional level of verification that will make it more difficult for people to continually make new accounts. 

How are you using AI in your journalism?

We are embracing the use of AI, but rest assured all the articles on News Shopper are the work of human beings! We have one AI-powered reporter, Charlotte Anderson, who uses AI to speed up some of the long-winded jobs that can slow down the production of news articles, such as processing pages and pages of planning or licensing applications in order to publish articles about the ones that matter most to our readers. Charlotte can also use AI to speed up the writing process of certain articles, which don't necessarily need as much investigatory work as other stories, for example rounding up upcoming roadworks. This is important information to highlight to readers, but Charlotte taking on these stories can mean the rest of the team is freed up to spend more time on stories that require more investigatory work. The bottom line is that human beings will always be responsible for what we produce, so if something is wrong it's our fault! And no computer programme will ever be able to emulate the important qualities of a local journalist - that local knowledge, nose for a story and gut feeling you get when things don't quite seem right.