Tag Archives: local and regional media

Civic Edition: Text message marketing for local newspapers

This blog post from Civic Edition, a site looking at new and innovative business models for community news, considers whether local businesses offering discounts via local newspapers could be improved as a revenue stream for both the papers and the merchants.

Via the paper’s website users could opt in to receive information about offers from local businesses by text message – but most importantly, says Civic Edition, these offers could be sent out in real time and instantly updated by the merchants to reflect their business needs.

Using an imaginary pizzeria, Julie’s Pizza, as an example, the post explains:

The new system allows her to adapt in real time to business circumstances, and give her customers information that they can actually use. This ultimately creates far more value for the merchant, making it something that she will actually want to pay for. As more merchants catch onto this far more efficient marketing model, it will provide a way for the newspaper (turned newshub) to monetize its pre-existing community base.

Full post at this link….

If your paper is already doing this, do drop us a line.

allmediascotland: Scottish government drops plans to remove public notices from newspapers

The Scottish government has scrapped its plans for legislation, which would have allowed local authorities to place public notices solely on the internet. The proposals had been heavily criticised by representatives of the local press, who feared the legislation would cut off a much-needed revenue stream.

But the fight from local authorities isn’t over – a spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities says the portal for public notices will still go ahead and evidence to support the future introduction of such legislation will be gathered.

Full story at this link…

Q&A: XCITTA, Italy’s new local news network

A network of local, multimedia news sites has gone live in Italy. XCITTA’s sites, which currently cover 10 Italian cities including Rome and Milan, are supported by a team of full-time journalists and freelancers who are encouraged to work remotely and engage with their readers online and via social media sites.

Each city site follows the same template with a strong emphasis on visuals – there are plenty of images and video clips embedded, as well as the pictorial navigation bar – and the sites in the rest of the network are accessible via a navigation bar at the top of the homepage.

Journalism.co.uk put some questions about the new sites to director Fabio Amato:

What gave you the idea for XCITTA?
The idea first came from an Italian-American entrepreneur, who didn’t see why there couldn’t be a website in Italy where journalism, participation from users and local news stories couldn’t be joined together in a network between 10 cities.

In the US this model already exists with sites like Gothamist. Our challenge is to reproduce this system in Italy, where inhabitants are more dislocated and where urban areas are less populated than in America.

How do you think to make money and how are you funded?
Essentially, the main source of revenue will be advertising. Although we are a network of local information, ads will be placed by an agency at national level.

The owner of the group is Vincent Turco, who has had a career in advertising and consulting for companies. We also have two members from Metacomunicatori, an important advertising agency located in the north east of Italy.

What’s your mission?
The network is complex and new, but basically we have one rule above all others: to publish only news that has an impact on the city’s life.

We are against having a mission statement as we consider this a bad habit. In our daily work, our reporters work where and about what they are passionate about. There’s not a space named ‘editorial office’ but rather a channel – the internet – where we work and as such our team is not stationary, Each XCITTA journalist has three tools: a laptop, an iPhone and a video camera. With these tools he can be connected with the other journalists and with those that live in the town.

At the moment, we have 17 journalists and a variable number of freelancers. Our journalists are normally under 30-years-old.

What are your targets?
Our first objective is to get half a million users a month, which is definitely ambitious. We will then aspire to expand to 20 and then 30 cities, and, if our project works, maybe other European countries.

Liverpool Daily Post hosting its own online literary festival

The Liverpool Daily Post will run its own online-only literary festival from 15 March.

The LiveRead festival will run from 15-19 March and feature liveblogged chats with authors and live writing workshops with Merseyside writers.

The Post is also tapping into its community of Flickr users by asking them to submit images of reenactments of their favourite literary scenes.

As part of the festival the Post will also use online storytelling tools Xtranormal and Storybird to encourage amateur writers to create their own multimedia stories.

Big numbers vs local audience – what should regional newspapers chase?

The conflict between chasing huge web traffic figures or meeting the demands of a core local audience online is one of the key challenges facing regional newspaper websites, according to a group of digital editors, who gathered last week at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLAN) Digital Editors Network meeting.

Coming together on the same day as the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic (ABCe) figures for the regional press were released, assessing current strategies for building web traffic was certainly topical. January had been a record month for the Lancashire Evening Post, digital editor Martin Hamer was proud to say with 8,215 user comments on articles on the site and 4,121,621 page impressions for the month beating the previous record of 3 million.

Average time spent on the site per visit had never been more than 6 minutes, but had risen to 6 minutes 15 secs in January, said Hamer.

Crucially 85.65 per cent of those visits came from within the UK – a figure the Post is keen to increase and several of the editors present said they had abandoned promoting content via social sites such as Fark, which had previously been used to drive traffic to websites from an international audience. With some local advertisers said to be in need of some digital hand-holding, the group suggested that guaranteeing a strong local online audience would be crucial in securing ads.

Web analytics are helping digital editors to understand the casual nature of most reader’s experience of their websites, added another journalist, whose group of sites sees 32 per cent of visitors only looking at one page, but a core 5-10 per cent looking at 10 pages in one sitting or visiting several times a week.

Growing that 10 per cent and make their engagement deeper and monetise it should be the priority, he added, and there have been some big shifts in the thinking around this recently: several groups admitted to cutting back or dropping video and podcasts entirely.

Instead building interaction using social media was encouraged and, as part of this, not chasing big numbers on these platforms, but rather focusing on engaged, local users and improving the service to meet their demands. Focusing on who those followers are and responding to those users who engage with the paper via those platforms will be more of more value in the long term.

Election 2.0: Will it be ‘gotcha’ time for journalists?

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk after last night’s event on the role that new media will play in the forthcoming election, Matthew McGregor, London director of Blue State Digital – the agency behind Barack Obama’s new media presidential campaigning,  said it was important not to overlook journalists’ own use of social media in reporting and gathering the news.

The interesting thing for me about blogging is that so many journalists have started blogging to try and get their stories out quicker, to try and publish stories that they are know are interested and printable, but just don’t make it into the paper.

Local political newspapers and their blogs will be interesting [during the 2010 election campaigns]. For example, the Nottingham Evening Post has a politics blogger, who will break stories that might not get into the newspaper, but will be of national importance.

But the rise of the blogger outside of journalism will be a game changer for those in the profession covering the election, added McGregor. While the pre-preparedness of the party leaders ahead of the TV debates may save them from newsworthy gaffes, as suggested by BBC political editor Nick Robinson, the way in which journalists cover the news and interact with candidates will leave them open to ‘gotcha’ moments. The dissection of the National Bullying Helpline story is just the start.

A game-changer for local media?

The openness that politicians have with Twitter and Facebook means they can’t hide and there’s no point trying to, because authenticity can’t be faked.

Journalists covering the election from a local angle have a lot to gain from using social networks to track candidates, suggested McGregor. Candidates may well try to bypass mainstream media to connect with voters – local media needs to get in on the act in this interim space.

There’s also an opportunity for local journalists to push their election stories to a national level using new media channels, he added, echoing comments made by fellow panellist DJ Collins, Google’s director of communications and public affairs EMEA on the benefits of this to the general public.

You’re not just local anymore, especially during an election (…) and people vote a home who have moved away.

Business Insider: AOL to launch hundreds of local news sites in 2010

According to this report, AOL is planning to expand Patch, its network of local news sites, from 30 domains to “hundreds” during 2010.

AOL bought Patch Media Corporation and an additional local information provider going.com in June.

An internal memo seen by Business Insider detailing the plans underlines AOL’s intention to aggressively expand in the local space, something the company describes as “one of the most promising ‘white spaces’ on the internet”.

Full story at this link…

TechCrunch: Local news aggregator Fwix goes hyperlocal

In October, we reported on the launch of Fwix, a local newswire service aggregating online sources, in eight UK cities.

Fwix is now expanding its aggregation to cover hyperlocal sources of news, as TechCrunch explains:

[C]ontent on Fwix will display relationships between both topics and nearby location. For example, after reading a story about a robbery that took place in the Mission district of San Francisco, you’ll be able to find any other crime and or stories about the Mission neighborhood.

Full story at this link…

Media Guardian: ‘Massive reduction’ in GNM’s loss next year, says chief executive McCall

Cost-cutting measures, including voluntary redundancy for around 40 editorial staff, will result in a “massive reduction” in Guardian News & Media’s (GNM) loss in the next financial year, chief executive Carolyn McCall told the Media Guardian weekly podcast.

The Guardian’s cost base is too high for the future revenues of any newspaper. If we don’t get our cost base in order someone else is going to do it for us.

In September, GNM managing director Tim Brooks said GNM was losing £100,000 a day and the group is seeking more than 100 job cuts across editorial and commercial operations.

McCall also commented on the sale of Guardian Media Group’s regional division to Trinity Mirror, acknowledging likely job losses amongst staff and papers and expressing surprise that Channel M was not part of the deal. GMG’s radio business is expected to be in profit this year, she added.

Full story at this link…

HTFP: Kent County Council to scrap controversial TV channel

Kent TV, the TV channel run by Kent County Council and the subject of a long-running battle with local newspaper the Kent Messenger, will be axed, the local authority confirmed yesterday.

The cost to the taxpayer of the channel, which was launched in September 2007 as a pilot project, is estimated by Holdthefrontpage.co.uk as in the region of £1.8 million.

The pilot period was due to come to an end next month and council leader Paul Carter said further spending on the channel could not be justified in the current economic climate.

Full story at this link…