Browse > Home /

Mike Rawlins on how Pits n Pots offers ‘a proper good pub discussion’ around politics online

May 10th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Traffic

Mike Rawlins, founder of the Stoke-based political hyperlocal site Pits n Pots spoke at the regional Society of Editors meeting today, on the site’s origins and where it plans to move to in the future.

Born out of a desire to “see the city improve”, Rawlins argued that the site aimed to cater for a what he felt was a need for more discussion around local politics, adding that the site’s highly active comment threads today are like a “a proper good pub discussion”.

Pits n Pots holds a simple ethos:

  • no editing in audio interviews
  • no editing of video interviews
  • no spinning stories: it’s always just straight down the line
  • any political parties get to use the platform

As Pits n Pots is run by enthusiasts, rather than journalists, it focusses on providing the information, and allows the community to read into it. Not editing interviews also minimises the need for technical expertise.

The site has seen a rapid growth in traffic, moving from around 1,900 unique visitors a day, with 6,000 pageviews in December 2009, up to approximately 12,000 unique visitors and 30,000 pageviews a day in April and May of 2011 as the site provided far more comprehensive coverage of the local elections than the local press. Other successes for the site include providing live coverage of a Stoke on Trent EDL rally, and posting videos from their coverage of the day which resulted in them being the 2nd highest news channel on YouTube globally for two days.

Now supported by the Journalism Foundation, April 2012 saw Pits n Pots attempt a print format, produced by the journalism students at Staffordshire University, printing 50,000 copies. reported that this one-off print edition, which was created as a marketing tool, helped to double Pits n Pots web traffic.

Rawlins says that the site will never be a full time job for him, but he hopes to employ a journalist in the future to progress the site, to facilitate better use of data, more investigative content, and allow better scrutiny of the local council.

He concluded that hyperlocal sites like Pits n Pots would never replace the local paper, and that they can coexist.

Tags: , , , ,

Similar posts:

#jpod – Hyperlocal news: Struggles for sustainability online and successes in print

April 20th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Podcast

The debate into how to make hyperlocal websites pay for the journalism they carry has been discussed for as long as the local news sites have been running.

Earlier this week we reported how Nesta announced late last month that it was putting up £1 million to fund hyperlocals. That followed a move four months ago when the Lebvedev family launched the Journalism Foundation with a local political news site, Pits n Pots, as one of the first two projects it was supporting.

This podcast looks at the current ideas for making hyperlocal sites sustainable, including public funding, and we hear from three hyperlocals, all of which have published print products to raise awareness of their web offerings or to make their business models pay. technology correspondent Sarah Marshall speaks to:

  • Rachel Howells, a director of the Port Talbot Magnet and a PhD student researching the impact of the closure of local newspapers.
  • Richard Coulter, former chief sub-editor and assistant editor at the Bristol Evening Post who now runs the Filton Voice, a (profitable) hyperlocal print magazine now into its seventh edition.
  • Mike Rawlins who runs Pits n Pots, which is backed by the Journalism Foundation.
  • Damian Radcliffe, author of the Nesta report mentioned above.
  • Andy Williams, a lecturer at Cardiff University who has research interests in the local newspaper industry in South Wales.

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Radical Press news site merges with Pits ‘n’ Pots

March 23rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

Independent news site for Staffordshire (featured in this interview with founder Matthew Taylor) has merged with neighbouring local news site Pits ‘n’ Pots to offer more multimedia coverage.

“The Radical Press following has been growing and growing, but running things alone meant that my time was stretched and expanding the site was difficult,” Taylor, who set up RP in April last year, told

“But with the combination of skills we now have through the amalgamation – the broadcast, photography and technical abilities of the other partners, tied with my print journalism – we have a real opportunity now to create a genuine alternative news site for Stoke-on-Trent.

“The nature of the platform we have now also allows readers to make comments, which means that it is also a forum for debate.”

The new site aims to attract around 3,000 unique visitors per day generating around 10,000 page views, according to a release.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement