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Citizen journalism site expands after getting £1 million funding

UK citizen journalism site Blottr.com is to expand into five new cities this month, as the company behind the site celebrates securing funding of £1 million.

The platform, founded by Adam Baker, enables users to create and break news stories, as well as contribute towards other peoples’ posts. The company this week closed a round of funding by Mark Pearson, as TechCrunch reported yesterday

Pearson has so far invested £250,000 into the site, with the remaining £750,000 to follow providing the business meets certain “milestones”, such as increasing traffic and engagement with the audience.

Today Baker told Journalism.co.uk the site will be expanding into five new cities in the next couple of weeks: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh and Manchester. The plan to expand was already in motion before the funding came through, but he added that the financial boost “definitely helped it”.

As part of the expansion, the site is undergoing a redesign to include the added functionality to enable users to add content to their own pages for areas not currently catered for. Blottr is also planning on launching a free iPhone app next week, which will enable users to report on events from the ground using the platform.

Baker said the next step would be to monetise the platform, such as by licensing it out to publishers and media organisations interested in integrating user generated content.

We’ve got a product that does a number of things that publishers and media companies want. In internal conversations they say ‘we know we need to get in user generated content’ but there are a whole bunch of legal issues, and then the other ongoing conversation is how do we make more money and how do we get more unique content?

With the platform they can start to deeply build their audience, get really good content that’s unique to them and then they get pages that they can start to monetise.

Baker added that the US market “is definitely on the radar” but that for now the focus is on the UK and Europe.

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