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Media release: Students produce one-off newspaper

April 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Local media, Newspapers

A group of journalism students at Staffordshire University have produced a newspaper to promote political and news comment site Pits n Pots.

The unique publication, which will be delivered to some 50,000 houses across Stoke-on-Trent next week, features 16 pages of community and political news as well as features and profiles of community champions.

The initiative saw volunteers given just three weeks to assemble a team, research and create content and finally design the paper.

Andrew Bettridge, who edited the paper, said:

It was a brilliant effort by the whole team to get the paper produced in such a short space of time. It was a lot of hard work but we all had great fun working on it and we are all very proud of the finished result. I hope the people of Stoke-on Trent enjoy reading it.

“The skills we have picked up from the teaching staff at Staffordshire University have helped us to put together a slick and professional newspaper.

Mike Rawlins of the Pits n Pots website said:

“The site is run by local volunteers who write about politics and issues that they are interested in. They write because they are passionate about what they believe in.”

The project is backed by The Journalism Foundation which has been working with Pits n Pots to reprofile the site while boosting community engagement.

Head of the foundation Simon Kelner, former editor of the Independent, and managing director Charlie Burgess, formerly of the Independent and the Guardian, visited the Staffordshire University newsroom during the process.

Burgess said:

“It was great to work with such an enthusiastic group of students who understood what The Journalism Foundation was doing. The project would not have been possible without them – and I hope they felt it was of benefit to them too. Staffordshire University were fantastic with their support.”

Jackie Gregory, senior lecturer in journalism at Staffordshire University, said:

“Around a dozen students, who all have a busy university workload, gave up many hours of their own time to produce this paper. They worked under pressure with great dedication and humour. It was a learning curve but they can be proud of the result.”

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Media release: Extra Newspapers launches new hyperlocal titles

April 4th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media, Newspapers

Image copyright Extra Newspapers

Extra Newspapers have launched the first in a string of new hyperlocal publications today designed to bring community news back to the fore.

The Kettering Extra and The Corby Extra hit news stands this morning with a cover price of 50p and a Wellingborough edition is set to follow on 18 April.

After some 14 months development, Extra Newspapers, which has offices in the Midlands, South East and Lancashire, put out a release last week detailing today’s launch:

Each paper, which is fortnightly, is designed to appeal to the traditional newsprint reader as well as the younger, digital savvy readership. Each one will be wholly dedicated to hyperlocal news – with companies and communities invited to contribute their news, views and event details to their local Extra paper.

The newspapers will have a start-up circulation of 10,500 and a cover price of just 50 pence, bringing readers everything from football results and birth announcements to school news, council facts, events, news and local views.

Stuart Parker, managing director, added:

Corby, a town of 55,000 people had until now no newspaper to call its own. The Corby Extra will give Corby what it wants most of all and that’s a voice across the community.

We intend to truly support local business and with the gradual shift in recent years to high advertising rates, the regional press has made it almost impossible for small businesses to communicate effectively with their target audiences. Extra will also be providing value for money advertising rates, so that businesses can quite simply afford to advertise and communicate.

 

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Johnston Press delays reporting financial results as it negotiates with lenders

March 28th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Local media

Johnston Press has delayed the reporting of last year’s financial results while it negotiates with lenders.

The local news publisher of around 260 titles, which is based in Edinburgh, was due to report its full-year results for 2011 on Tuesday (3 April).

It is describing discussions with lenders as “constructive”.

In a statement JP says it is changing its preliminary results date to 25 April.

The company has been in constructive discussions with its lenders regarding the extension of its credit facilities for a further three years from their current maturity on 30 September 2012 and will provide a further update to the market as part of the preliminary results announcement.

Last week Ashley Highfield, who started as JP’s chief executive in November signaled that the publisher is adopting a “digital first” strategy.

During the same appearance, at the Guardian Media Summit, he stated that “every one of our newspapers is profitable”, but added that to “make more money out of digital we still have a long way to go”.

He said the local newspaper group aims for profit margins of 20 per cent.

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Archant London restructures its senior editorial team

March 8th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Local media, Media releases

Archant London has restructured its senior editorial team following the merger of its newspaper and magazine divisions.

Geoff Martin has been appointed editor-in-chief for Archant London’s newspapers published out of its Swiss Cottage office in Camden.

Malcolm Starbrook is the now editor-in-chief of newspapers published from its Ilford office, in east London.

Archant London’s editorial director Bob Crawley said the changes would provide one point of senior management contact at each office.

Chris Carter, editor of the Ilford Recorder, will continue to lead CMS editorial development as well as working on new projects such as the roll-out of its citizen journalism website iWitness24 for the whole of Archant London’s newspaper division.Laura Adams will continue to edit Archant’s bridal publications as well as editing the Barking and Dagenham Post, while Colin Grainger continues as editor of the Newham Recorder.

Peter Le Riche has been appointed to the newly-created role of commercial features editor.

Peter Le Riche, who previously worked as an editor with Archant South West before joining Richmond Council as head of communications, will rejoin Archant as their commercial features editor from 12 March.

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Q&A with hyperlocal site boasting 15,000 newsletter subscribers

ChiswickW4.com, which claimed 50,000 unique visitors during January, has just gained it’s 15,000th email newsletter signup.

Launched by the Neighbour Net group in 2000 to cover the W4 postcode area of London, Neighbour Net now boasts a portfolio of nine other hyperlocal sites in London, including EalingToday.co.uk and PutneySW15.com.

One of Neighbour Net’s directors, Sean Kelly, spoke to Journalism.co.uk about the site’s model.

Who’s behind the operation of the website? What inspired you to set up a hyperlocal site?

The site was set up by Tony Steele and Sean Kelly who both live in the Chiswick area. The aim was to fill the gap in local news provision initially in Chiswick and then extend the concept out to other areas.

Are your articles written by local contributors or do you have a dedicated team?

We have a dedicated editor for each site and a significant number of other local contributors in each area. The contributions tend to be reviews – restaurants, concerts, theatre. There is also a central office resource for content production which can write stories when the editor is away.

Is anyone employed to work full-time on the site?

Yes, we have four full-time staff but that includes sales and back office. The aim on ChiswickW4.com is to be able to respond 24/7 to breaking news.

Your site has a number of subtle advertisements – could you tell us a little about your business model?

Nearly all our customers are small local businesses and they either have advertising packages which include banner display and newsletter inclusion or listings in our directories.

We also like to be supportive of local independent businesses and like to write positive stories about them. Obviously we are more inclined to cover items about our clients but often feature non-clients as well.

Do you have a social media strategy? If so, what social networks do you use and how do you use them?

We put all our news content out on Twitter and Facebook as well as some aggregated feeds with local offers, events, jobs and traffic reports. The main use for us of social media is sourcing stories rather than broadcasting. It is particularly powerful for breaking news.

We try and follow as many people as possible who live in the area to ensure that if something is kicking off locally we hear about it quickly.

Why did you go down the newsletter route, rather than taking a different approach?

Probably because in 2000 there weren’t really many alternatives but e-mail newsletters have proven to be the most effective broadcast method ever since.

On a proportional basis they still deliver the highest level of response both for advertisers and in terms of click through to news items.

How does your traffic for the Chiswick site compare with the rest of Neighbour Net’s sites?

It makes up around 50 per cent of group total over the course of a typical month. On exceptional days sites like PutneySW15.com and EalingToday.co.uk can exceed Chiswick’s traffic.

Do you have any plans to roll out new features on the sites?

The plan is to increase the amount of user contributed content further although the editor will remain central to the story production process.

Are you planning to expand? If so, where to?

We normally expand contiguously so that people in the area may be familiar with the site and we can cross-sell to existing clients as well as provide editorial support from neighbouring sites.

The most important determinant of where we launch is finding a suitably high quality editor. The plan is to recruit more actively once the content management system is up and running.

ChiswickW4.com can be found on Twitter as @ChiswickW4.

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Regional Press Awards add new category for best editor

February 15th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Local media, Newspapers

The Society of Editors has added a new category to this year’s Regional Press Awards – for editor of the year.

Entries for the awards, which celebrate the best of British regional newspaper journalism, are now open at www.theregionalpressawards.org.uk

The Society of Editors said today, in a release:

The new editor’s award will recognise the editor of a daily or weekly regional newspaper who can demonstrate either personal journalistic achievement in the public interest, leadership, a personally fronted campaign, an individual battle with authority or simply a great idea. Editors can nominate themselves or can be nominated by senior editorial colleagues.

The closing date is 7 March, the shortlists will be published on 17 April and the ceremony is on 25 May.

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Essex hyperlocal website teams up with Archant to launch magazine

A hyperlocal website in Essex has teamed up with regional newspaper publisher Archant to launch a print edition.

EverythingEppingForest.co.uk, which was founded in 2008 by local journalist David Jackman, will bring out the glossy monthly magazine from next month.

Printed by Archant, it will be delivered to 10,000 homes in the area and will include local community news and information, events and advertising.

In a statement published on the Everything Epping Forest website (not directly linkable – scroll down), Archant London commercial director Tony Little said: “We are delighted to have set up this partnership with David who is a much-respected local journalist, with important contacts in the local area.

“His success with Everything Epping Forest should be applauded and we are delighted to get involved with such a successful community-focused initiative.”

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Guardian’s n0tice launches advertising platform

December 12th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Local media

New online noticeboard, n0tice, which is owned by the Guardian Media Group, today announced the launch of an advertising platform which will enable noticeboard owners to earn revenue.

According to a post on the site, which also enables community groups, individuals, hyperlocals and bloggers to post announcements, event information and local news, noticeboard “owners” can now “earn revenue by selling featured positions for classified listings or ‘offers’.”

Outlining the model n0tice says owners will take an 85 per cent revenue cut, while the platform gets the remaining 15 per cent.

Posting an offer on a noticeboard is self-serve and free for n0tice participants. Offers can then be upgraded to a Featured placement for £1/day (or the equivalent base-level regional currency). Featured positioning includes both a visual enhancement and priority ranking on the page.

Alongside the new revenue platform, n0tice also announced the addition of other new features in today’s post, including geoRSS and the ability for each user to have a number of noticeboards.

Read more on n0tice here.

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Hyperlocals can now create noticeboards using the Guardian’s n0tice

Online noticeboard n0tice has today opened to all community groups and hyperlocal sites after testing the technology with a limited number of users.

Groups can now create their own customised page, choosing a domain and can start to moderate activity. The platform is still being developed but there are plans to later introduce revenue-sharing between n0tice, owned by the Guardian Media Group, and page owners, such as hyperlocal news sites and bloggers.

notice is like a cross between a village noticeboard, Gumtree and Foursquare in that it is a space for users to post small ads, local news and announcements and that information can be pushed to location-enabled mobile phones and devices. There is more on how and why n0tice was created at this link and how it will make money by charging users for promoted, location-based small ads.

Following a recent invitation roll-out, hyperlocals, bloggers and community groups can now create their n0tice page, measure performance and activity with social analytics tools, and “moderate community activity in order to encourage the kind of behaviour they want to see on their noticeboard”, Sarah Hartley, one of the team behind n0tice told Journalism.co.uk.

She added:

This service is designed to serve community groups of all shapes and sizes, active local champions and community leaders, local publishers and bloggers, interest groups and hobbyists, and anyone who wants to manage a community noticeboard. We are focused on serving UK-based community groups, but it works anywhere in the world.

The service is still in development, and we have a lot we plan to add in the near future.

For example, we will develop revenue sharing opportunities via the classified advertising platform so that noticeboard owners can earn money. We will also develop a private, restricted access community noticeboard service which will be offered for a fee.

We don’t have a date when these services will be launched, but we release new capabilities on a regular basis.  You can follow @n0tice to stay in touch with the team.

Access to n0tice.com is open, but community participation is currently by invitation only. There are details on the technologies used to create n0tice here.

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#wef11 audio: Jim Brady of Journal Register Company talks open newsrooms

October 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism, Local media, Newspapers

During the building communities session at the World Editors Forum in Vienna today, editor-in-chief of the Journal Register Company Jim Brady discussed a number of ways in which you can build communities and importantly, greater engagement with your audience.

One of the ways is through opening up the newsroom, referring to the Register Citizen in Torrington, which opened up a newsroom cafe open to the public at the end of last year.

Members of the community are welcome to get involved either virtually, such as by attending news meetings via Skype or physcially by coming into the newsroom to talk to reporters over a coffee.

I spoke to Jim at the end of the session to find out more about the project, and how it has developed in its first year.

Jim Brady, Journal Register Company by journalismnews

Another member of the panel, Anette Novak, editor-in-chief of Norran in Sweden, also discussed a similar project they run online, called eEditor, which you can find more on here. There will be more tips on building communities from the World Editors Forum session on Journalism.co.uk tomorrow.

The topic of enhancing community engagement was also discussed at Journalism.co.uk’s own event news:rewired, which took place in London last week. You can see a liveblog of that session here, and a copy of the presentations from those speakers is available at this link.

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