Meet the team – Calvin Robinson, chief reporter
Last updated Mar 6, 2024

As one of the BBC’s first Local Democracy Reporters in Lincolnshire, Calvin’s forensic knowledge of local government and the public sector is reflected in his in-depth investigative reporting.  

Originally from Halifax, he moved to Harrogate in 2020 to progress in his career, and to be closer to his family – and while he may not admit it, closer to his beloved football team Leeds United. 

Using the combination of skills gained from his time in the industry, and his personal attachment to North Yorkshire, he’s both well attuned and motivated to dig deep into the stories that matter to the area.

He explained:

“I like that I have the opportunity to look into stories in more depth and detail at The Stray Ferret. 

“I enjoy telling people things that they do not know and keeping them informed on topics that are of public interest, such as use of public money.”

Since joining the team, Calvin has been at the forefront of breaking many exclusives at the heart of local government, using a meticulous and data-driven approach to tackling tough subjects. 

One of his most significant stories to date was his investigation into what he has deemed the ‘culture of secrecy’ at the former Harrogate Borough Council. 

 Calvin said:

“I investigated Harrogate Borough Council in 2021 into the council withholding information from the public on key issues such as contracts and Harrogate Convention Centre.”

The investigation involved analysing a year’s worth of public meeting agendas and comparing them with similar councils, to get a good enough sample size.  

He continued:

“My research found that the borough council had three times more restricted papers than the second highest comparable council and nearly 25 times as many as the lowest.”

“I also spoke to councillors, local sources close to the authority and submitted numerous Freedom of Information requests to discern whether the council had a culture of non-disclosure.

“My findings showed that the borough council had an inconsistent approach to disclosing information to the press and public.”

While Calvin may predominantly focus on longer-form, investigative pieces, he’s also turned his hand to human-interest stories too, showcasing his versatility as a reporter. 

This includes his feature on the vital services Andy’s Mans Club and his interview with the Knaresborough paddleboarder tackling a 162-mile challenge for charity.  

Unfortunately for Calvin, Elland Road is off patch, so he can’t incorporate the Leeds game into work  – but as a season ticket holder, football is a huge part of his free time.   

Once the season is over, he trades the ball for the bat, and supports Yorkshire County Cricket club at Headingly, as well as getting fresh air in the countryside surrounding Harrogate.

He added:

“The Nidderdale Greenway is a good walk on a Sunday morning, particularly after picking up a coffee at the vendor near the entrance at Bilton Lane.” 

If you think you’ve got a story that might be of interest to Calvin, you can email him at [email protected].