1he SLaLe of Pyperlocal

CommunlLy news ln Lhe uk:
llndlngs from a survey of
pracLlLloners

Andy Wllllams, Cardlff unlverslLy
SLeven 8arneLL, unlverslLy of WesLmlnsLer
uave ParLe, 8lrmlngham ClLy unlverslLy
!udlLh 1ownend, unlverslLy of WesLmlnsLer
!uly 2014


2



About 1h|s keport

1hls reporL ls Lhe resulL of a collaboraLlon beLween Lwo dlfferenL AP8C-funded pro[ecLs: Lhe
Medla, CommunlLy and Lhe CreaLlve ClLlzen pro[ecL, based aL Cardlff and 8lrmlngham ClLy
unlverslLles, and Lhe Medla Þower and ÞlurallLy pro[ecL, based aL Lhe unlverslLy of
WesLmlnsLer. AlLhough noL orlglnally planned as a [olnL enLerprlse, our comblned resources
have enabled us Lo produce Lhe mosL comprehenslve emplrlcal analysls Lo daLe of Lhe
currenL pracLlces, fundlng, sLafflng and ouLlooks of Lhose who run hyperlocal slLes.

8oLh pro[ecLs wlll be produclng more academlc papers, clLlng Lhe daLa here and explorlng
Lhelr lmpllcaLlons ln greaLer deLall. We felL lL lmporLanL, however, glven Lhe volume and
slgnlflcance of orlglnal daLa, Lo provlde a descrlpLlve accounL of our flndlngs. 1hls reporL ls
Lherefore lnLended as an open access verslon avallable Lo pracLlLloners, researchers and
pollcy makers whlch we hope wlll help Lo lnform pollcy debaLes alongslde Lhe more
scholarly papers whlch wlll follow.

Acknow|edgements

We are parLlcularly graLeful Lo Wllllam Þerrln, Sarah ParLley and Mlchael 8awllns aL 1alk
AbouL Local for Lhelr lnvaluable asslsLance ln provldlng access Lo Lhelr llsL of hyperlocal
publlshers, and for Lhelr knowledgeable lnpuL lnLo devlslng Lhe quesLlonnalre. We would
also llke Lo Lhank uamlan 8adcllffe for hls valuable commenLs on Lhe drafL quesLlonnalre
deslgn and commenLs on Lhe flnal reporL.

Cur Lhanks, Loo, Lo all Lhose reclplenLs of our quesLlonnalre who Look Lhe Llme and Lrouble
Lo compleLe lL and Lherefore enabled us Lo produce such a comprehenslve assessmenL of
Lhe sLaLe of hyperlocal communlLy news ln Lhe uk Loday.

llnally, we are graLeful Lo Lhe ArLs and PumanlLles 8esearch Councll (AP8C) whose fundlng
of boLh pro[ecLs has enabled Lhls collaboraLlon.
1


1
1he Medla, CommunlLy and Lhe CreaLlve ClLlzen pro[ecL was supporLed by Lhe AP8C under lLs ConnecLed
CommunlLles scheme (granL number AP/!003290/1). 1he Medla Þower and ÞlurallLy pro[ecL was supporLed by
Lhe AP8C under lLs lellowshlp Scheme (granL number AP/k002864/1).

3
1ab|e of Contents
key f|nd|ngs ....................................................................................................................... 4
Cur method ....................................................................................................................... 6
Who produces Uk hyper|oca| commun|ty news and how do they descr|be what they do? . 9
1he longevlLy of uk communlLy news ................................................................................................... 9
8uL ls lL [ournallsm? ............................................................................................................................. 10
What k|nd of news do they produce? .............................................................................. 13
Pow local ls hyperlocal? ...................................................................................................................... 13
WhaL news do Lhey cover? .................................................................................................................. 13
Campalgnlng communlLy news? .......................................................................................................... 13
lnvesLlgaLlve hyperlocal news? ............................................................................................................ 17
Aud|ences for hyper|oca| news ........................................................................................ 20
knowledge of audlence flgures ............................................................................................................ 20
CommunlLy news audlences on soclal medla ...................................................................................... 21
Pow much of Lhelr poLenLlal LargeL audlences do uk communlLy news slLes reach? ......................... 22
Audlence lncreases for uk communlLy news slLes .............................................................................. 24
Susta|n|ng commun|ty news ............................................................................................ 26
1he human resources behlnd hyperlocal news ................................................................................... 26
Pow much does uk communlLy news cosL? ........................................................................................ 27
Who funds hyperlocal news? ............................................................................................................... 28
WhaL are Lhe revenue sources? ........................................................................................................... 28
Pow much money do communlLy news slLes generaLe? ..................................................................... 30
uo communlLy news producers Lhlnk Lhelr slLes are susLalnable? ...................................................... 31
1he future of hyper|oca| news ......................................................................................... 34
Pow would hyperlocals llke Lo expand edlLorlally? ............................................................................. 34
8roader asplraLlons of uk communlLy news producers ...................................................................... 33
WhaL ls sLopplng uk hyperlocals from expandlng? ............................................................................. 38
WhaL supporL do uk communlLy news slLes need? ............................................................................. 39


4
key f|nd|ngs

!"# %&#'()*+ )#,,(-./0 -*1+2 3-' "#1 '# /"*0 '*+)&.4* 1"3/ /"*0 '#5

• 1he uk communlLy news secLor ls well-esLabllshed, and domlnaLed by players who
have achleved a degree of longevlLy (nearly Lhree quarLers of our sample of 183
producers have been produclng news for over Lhree years, and nearly a Lhlrd for
more Lhan flve years).
• Seven ouL of Len producers see whaL Lhey do as a form of acLlve communlLy
parLlclpaLlon, over half see lL as local [ournallsm, and over half as an expresslon of
acLlve clLlzenshlp.
• AlmosL half of our parLlclpanLs have [ournallsLlc Lralnlng or experlence worklng ln Lhe
malnsLream medla.

!"3/ 6.-'+ #7 -*1+ 8*/+ )#9*&*' 40 "0%*&:#)3: %(4:.+"*&+5

• CommunlLy news slLes cover a wlde varleLy of local news of boLh clvlc and culLural
value, lncludlng news abouL local communlLy groups and evenLs, and local
governmenL lssues (parLlcularly plannlng).
• nearly Lhree quarLers of respondenLs have covered local campalgns lnsLlgaLed by
oLhers, and well over a Lhlrd have lnsLlgaLed Lhelr own. lssues relaLe mosLly Lo
plannlng dlspuLes, cuLs Lo local publlc servlces, lmprovemenLs Lo local amenlLles, and
local councll accounLablllLy.
• uesplLe lacklng lnsLlLuLlonal and professlonal supporL, a slgnlflcanL mlnorlLy have
also carrled ouL local waLchdog lnvesLlgaLlve [ournallsm.
• 1he Lerm ºhyperlocal" should noL be undersLood Loo llLerally - mosL slLes cover
geographlcal areas akln Lo small Lowns or clLy suburbs.

!"3/ "39* 1* :*3&-*' 34#(/ )#,,(-./0 -*1+ 3('.*-)*+5

• More Lhan Lwo Lhlrds of hyperlocal news producers have knowledge of baslc
audlence sLaLs for Lhelr slLes such as monLhly unlque vlslLors and page lmpresslons.
• MosL hyperlocal news slLes suffer from a lack of vlslblllLy ln Lhelr own communlLles,
wlLh only very few reachlng a hlgh percenLage of Lhelr poLenLlal local audlences.
• 1here ls a small group of hlgh-performlng communlLy news slLes reachlng slgnlflcanL
audlences of beLween 10,000 and 100,000 monLhly ºunlques", buL mosL reach qulLe
modesL audlences (Lhe medlan number of monLhly unlque vlslLors ls 3039).
• 91 per cenL of producers use 1wlLLer and 79 per cenL use lacebook for Lhelr
communlLy news acLlvlLles.
• uesplLe Lhe vlslblllLy problem, large ma[orlLles of hyperlocal news producers
conLlnue Lo see audlence growLh on Lhelr own webslLes, as well as on key soclal
medla plaLforms.


3
;#1 +(+/3.-34:* .+ "0%*&:#)3:5

• MosL communlLy news producers work parL-Llme on Lhelr slLes (37 per cenL work up
Lo Len hours a week and 26 per cenL work beLween 11 and 30 hours). 8uL a mlnorlLy
work full-Llme, wlLh 11 per cenL puLLlng ln more Lhan 40 hours a week.
• Many communlLy news operaLlons are parLlclpaLory and collaboraLlve efforLs
• lacLorlng ln Lhe work done by oLher Leam members, [usL over four slLes ln Len (43
per cenL) are Lhe producL of relaLlvely few hours worked (Len hours or less per
week). 1he resL are more Llme-consumlng, wlLh a Lhlrd demandlng 21-30 worklng
hours, and a quarLer more Lhan 30.
• MosL communlLy news producers fund Lhe runnlng cosLs of Lhelr slLes from Lhelr
own pockeLs, buL around one ln four ralse enough money Lo cover Lhelr cosLs.
• AdverLlslng ls Lhe domlnanL form of lncome generaLlon, buL a number of oLher
meLhods are employed such as ellclLlng sponsored feaLures or geLLlng granL fundlng.
• Around a Lhlrd of our parLlclpanLs make money, mosLly qulLe modesL amounLs: 12
per cenL say Lhey make less Lhan £100 per monLh, for lnsLance, buL 13 per cenL say
Lhey generaLe more Lhan £300 per monLh.
• uesplLe Lhe low proporLlon of economlcally successful communlLy news producers,
nlne ouL of Len sLlll belleve Lhey can susLaln, or lncrease, currenL levels of ouLpuL ln
Lhe comlng year.
• MosL producers are noL moLlvaLed by economlc galn, buL Lhe overall lack of
revenues belng generaLed could LhreaLen Lhe longer Lerm susLalnablllLy of hyperlocal
publlshlng.

!"3/ '#*+ /"* 7(/(&* "#:' 7#& <= )#,,(-./0 -*1+5

• LlghL ouL of Len respondenLs have amblLlons Lo expand Lhelr slLes.
• Many would llke Lo posL more frequenLly, use more mulLlmedla conLenL, and ellclL
more maLerlal from Lhelr audlences. MosL commonly clLed areas for expanslon were
local lnformaLlon and coverage of communlLy groups and evenLs.
• WlLhouL resLrlcLlons on Llme or money, Lhe maln LargeLs for slLe lmprovemenL were:
Lechnlcal webslLe lssues, engaglng wlLh audlences more on soclal medla, selllng ads
and generaLlng revenue, culLlvaLlng a larger communlLy of acLlve conLrlbuLors.
• MosL communlLy [ournallsLs feel very Llme poor, wlLh nearly Lhree quarLers clLlng
lack of Llme as a bar Lo fuLure expanslon.
• Slx ouL of Len say Lhey would llke help wlLh generaLlng revenues Lo fund Lhelr own
Llme, and wlLh markeLlng and promoLlng Lhelr slLe Lo drlve audlences up. Palf would
llke help wlLh selllng adverLlslng.


6

Cur method

ln deslgnlng Lhls survey, we began wlLh Lwo overarchlng research quesLlons:

l. WhaL democraLlc roles do onllne hyperlocal slLes acLually play, lf any?
ll. Pow successful and susLalnable are Lhese slLes ln pracLlce?

Cur quesLlonnalre almed Lo operaLlonallse Lhese quesLlons ln a manner whlch could be
easlly undersLood and answered by Lhose who run Lhese slLes.

Clven Lhe decenLrallzed and lnformal naLure of much communlLy news publlshlng, and Lhe
vagueness of Lhe hyperlocal label, lL ls dlfflculL Lo esLlmaLe a populaLlon slze of hyperlocal
slLes operaLlng ln Lhe uk. 1he mosL rellable lndlcaLor ls an onllne dlrecLory hosLed by Cpenly
Local and currenLly curaLed by 1alk AbouL Local. lL conLalns over 700 u8Ls Lo local slLes and
plaLforms. Powever, noL all Lhese slLes are acLlve. ln !une 2013, ParLe
2
esLabllshed LhaL of
632 hyperlocal webslLes llsLed on Lhe Cpenly Local daLabase, 496 were ºacLlve" and
operaLlng ln Lhe uk whlle 133 were no longer acLlve.
3


8ulldlng on prevlous research by Wllllams !" $%
4
and nLS1A
3
, we ldenLlfled acLlve slLes on
Lhe Cpenly Local and 1alk AbouL Local malllng llsLs. llrsL, a generlc onllne requesL was
successfully dellvered from 1alk AbouL Local Lo 433 members of Lhe 1alk AbouL Local llsL.
Second, a more personallsed onllne requesL was successfully dellvered Lo 216 slLes llsLed on
CpenlyLocal, elLher vla emall or Lhe conLacL box on Lhelr slLes. 1hlrd, we adverLlsed Lhe
survey on our blogs and 1wlLLer accounLs, whlch generaLed 24 addlLlonal responses. A LoLal
of 183 responses were recelved alLogeLher (wlLh 76° flnlshlng Lhe survey).
6


We Lherefore achleved a response raLe of over one Lhlrd of Lhe orlglnal LargeL populaLlon of
300 (based on ParLe's flgure of 496 acLlve slLes), maklng Lhls Lhe mosL exLenslve survey of
hyperlocal medla ln Lhe uk Lo daLe. Whlle Lhe LoLal populaLlon of local slLes and plaLforms ls
llkely Lo be larger, no alLernaLlve rellable cenLral source exlsLs. AlLhough we are confldenL
LhaL our flnal sample ls reasonably represenLaLlve of Lhe hyperlocal unlverse, lL ls noL
posslble Lo quanLlfy elLher any blas resulLlng from noL belng able Lo reach unllsLed slLes, nor
any non-response blas.


2
hLLp://daveharLe.com/hyperlocal/hyperlocal-publlshlng-ln-Lhe-uk-a-2013-snapshoL
3
ºAcLlve" was deflned as ºa webslLe havlng posLed a news sLory aL leasL once ln Lhe 3 monLhs prlor Lo Lhe
sample perlod or funcLloned as a forum-only or wlkl-based webslLe". lnacLlve slLes had elLher closed, or had
noL publlshed ln Lhe 3 monLhs prlor Lo hls sampllng.
4
Wllllams, Andrew, !erome 1urner, ScoLL uewey, uave ParLe and Clyn MoLLershead. 2013. º1he value of
Pyperlocal news Lo uemocracy". unpubllshed conference paper. 1he luLure of !ournallsm Conference 2013,
13 SepLember.
3
hLLp://www.nesLa.org.uk/publlcaLlons/desLlnaLlon-local-our-lessons-daLe
6
1he response raLe was hlgher from Lhe llsL complled from Lhe Cpenly Local dlrecLory (90 of 216: 42°) Lhan
from Lhe 1alk AbouL Local malllng llsL (69 of 433: 13.2°). 1here are Lwo maln reasons LhaL could explaln Lhe
low response Lo Lhe 1alk AbouL Local malllng llsL. llrsL, Lhe requesL for parLlclpaLlon Look Lhe form of a generlc
newsleLLer (only 113 of 433 reclplenLs opened Lhe emall), second, Lhe malllng llsL conLalned conLacL deLalls for
people were lnLeresLed ln hyperlocal medla, buL do noL publlsh slLes Lhemselves.
7
8y LargeLlng such a wlde sample we hoped Lo address Lhe problem of self-selecLlon and
sample blas, when surveys are solely adverLlsed Lhrough Lhe auLhors' own soclal medla
neLworks. Lven wlLh emall LargeLlng, Lhls facLor should be Laken lnLo conslderaLlon.
AddlLlonally, we were alerL Lo Lhe problems LhaL arlse wlLh self-reporLlng, when Lhe daLa ls
based on respondenLs' own lnLerpreLaLlons. ln some lnsLances lL was posslble Lo verlfy Lhe
lnformaLlon glven (some respondenLs helpfully provlded hyperllnks Lo acLual examples of
conLenL), ln oLhers we relled on Lhelr personal accounLs. Whlle Lhere ls llkely Lo be some
emplrlcal lnaccuracy (eg. on Lhe monLhly Lrafflc esLlmaLes), Lhe healLhy response raLe and
Lhe parLlal verlflcaLlon exerclse helped address Lhls lssue.

Cur onllne quesLlonnalre soughL lnformaLlon abouL fundlng, operaLlonal problems,
susLalnablllLy, and publlshers' self-percepLlons abouL Lhelr acLlvlLy and moLlvaLlons. lL was
spllL lnLo secLlons whlch covered Lhe runnlng of Lhe slLe, slLe reach, slLe conLenL (spllL lnLo
caLegorles of lnformaLlon, campalgns and lnvesLlgaLlons), and slLe susLalnablllLy and
resources.

Cur flnal sample slze was 183 publlshers of hyperlocal slLes and servlces ln Lhe uk, surveyed
onllne from 3 uecember 2013 - 24 lebruary 2014. lor slmpllclLy, Lhe quesLlons and Lhe
resulLs refer Lo ºslLes" alLhough some respondenLs publlsh on oLher Lypes of plaLforms such
as lacebook pages, raLher Lhan a sLandalone webslLe. Where percenLages LoLal more Lhan
100, respondenLs were glven Lhe opporLunlLy Lo selecL more Lhan one opLlon. noL all
quesLlons were compulsory or relevanL, so Lhe number of respondenLs (n) Lo a quesLlon ls
noLed afLer each seL of answers.


A note on "hyper|oca|"

1he hyperlocal Lerm, whlch orlglnaLes from Lhe uS, descrlbes onllne local news and
lnformaLlon servlces, normally lndependenL from large medla owners. Wllllam Þerrln,
founder of 1alk AbouL Local
7
, descrlbes lL as a meLonym raLher Lhan a llLeral label (akln Lo
uslng ºLhe press" as a caLegory of medla) LhaL can deflne slLes and servlces coverlng any slze
of geographlcal area, boLh large and small.
8
ln Lhe flrsL exLenslve reporL on Lhe hyperlocal
secLor ln Lhe uk, 8adcllffe gave a more conservaLlve deflnlLlon, excludlng clLles or areas
larger Lhan Lowns: ºCnllne news or conLenL servlces perLalnlng Lo a Lown, vlllage, slngle
posLcode or oLher small, geographlcally deflned communlLy".
9


8adcllffe does, however, acknowledge LhaL ºaudlence percepLlons of whaL consLlLuLes
ºlocal" vary conslderably" (lbld), Lhe same could be sald for ºcommunlLy". A furLher
compllcaLlon ls LhaL producers of some slLes and servlces LhaL appear Lo fall under Lhe
hyperlocal umbrella dlsllke Lhe Lerm, and would noL necessarlly promoLe Lhemselves as
such.
10
noneLheless hyperlocal has emerged ln Lhe lasL few years as a domlnanL and wldely

7
A company provldlng Lralnlng and resources Lo local communlLy slLes and servlces, wlLh whlch Lhe auLhors
collaboraLed Lo deslgn and dlssemlnaLe Lhe research survey (see acknowledgemenLs).
8
hLLp://LalkabouLlocal.org.uk/broadcasLlng-Loday-conversaLlon-Lalk-mlddlesex-unlverslLy-sLudenLs-hyperlocal-
medla
9
hLLp://www.nesLa.org.uk/publlcaLlons/here-and-now-uk-hyperlocal-medla-Loday p.6
10
hLLp://wannabehacks.co.uk/2011/02/02/phlllp-[ohn-Lhe-problem-wlLh-Lhe-word-hyperlocal/
8
recognlsed Lerm Lo descrlbe local and communlLy onllne medla, Lo Lhe exLenL LhaL lL ls
speclflcally menLloned ln Lhe recenL uCMS consulLaLlon documenL on medla plurallLy.
11

Moreover, Lhe 1echnology SLraLegy 8oard, worklng wlLh nLS1A, ls plannlng Lo lnvesL up Lo
£2.3m ln pro[ecLs LhaL ºdemonsLraLe Lhe poLenLlal of hyperlocal medla Lechnologles Lo serve
communlLles across Lhe uk".
12
Whlle problemaLlc, we flnd lL useful as a way of descrlblng an
emergenL generaLlon of a prlmarlly dlglLal communlLy of local news producers.

1he form of conLenL as well as Lhe slze of Lhe area covered varles slgnlflcanLly from slLe Lo
slLe: from onllne verslons of parlsh newsleLLers Lo pro[ecLs developed by professlonal
[ournallsLs, such as Lhe Cuardlan's shorL-llved local slLes ln Cardlff, Ldlnburgh and Leeds.
Pyperlocal lnlLlaLlves are noL necessarlly based on a slngle webslLe: Lhey mlghL be a 1wlLLer
accounL, a lacebook page or a dlscusslon forum. 1hey may noL be deslgned as º[ournallsm"
or ºnews" and producers may noL wlsh Lo be plgeon-holed as ºclLlzen [ournallsLs".
13









11
uCMS. 2013. ºMedla Cwnershlp and ÞlurallLy": a consulLaLlon, !uly.
12
hLLps://www.lnnovaLeuk.org/compeLlLlon-dlsplay-page/-
/asseL_publlsher/8qLL2AkmL8hl/conLenL/desLlnaLlon-local-demonsLraLors?p_p_auLh=3eC!8h9v
13
hLLp://www.nesLa.org.uk/publlcaLlons/here-and-now-uk-hyperlocal-medla-Loday p.12
9

Who produces Uk hyper|oca| commun|ty news and how do they
descr|be what they do?


Pyperlocal communlLy news ln Lhe uk ls produced by people from all klnds of backgrounds for all
klnds of reasons. Many who run Lhelr own news slLes have day [obs (or, lndeed, no [obs) and wanL
Lo glve a llLLle back Lo Lhelr communlLles by wrlLlng abouL whaL ls golng on around Lhem, many are
currenL or former professlonal [ournallsLs sLrlklng ouL on Lhelr own as local news enLrepreneurs.
Many of Lhose who sLarLed ouL as acLlve clLlzens blogglng abouL Lhelr nelghbourhood now wanL Lo
Lurn Lhelr news slLes lnLo more professlonal enLlLles.


&'! %()*!+,"- (. /0 1(223),"- )!45

1he secLor ls qulLe a fluld one, wlLh some slLes sLarLlng up and Lhen closlng ln qulck successlon
whlle oLhers have now been operaLlng successfully for several years. 1he low barrler Lo enLry
assoclaLed wlLh seLLlng up a free blog (lL cosLs vlrLually noLhlng) means LhaL people are frequenLly
LempLed Lo launch a slLe wlLhouL reallslng how much labour ls requlred Lo keep lL golng. 1haL sald,
free blogglng sofLware such as Word Þress and 8logger has been avallable for more Lhan a decade
now, and onllne communlLy news servlces have been golng ln Lhe uk for aL leasL LhaL long. lor Lhls
reason, lL was noL surprlslng LhaL nearly Lhree quarLers of our respondenLs had been publlshlng for
more Lhan Lhree years (73 per cenL) and around a Lhlrd for more Lhan flve years (32 per cenL). 1hls
apparenL longevlLy of communlLy news producLlon bodes well for Lhe secLor.


I|gure A: now |ong has the ma|n s|te or p|atform been runn|ng? (n=176)




8.0°
18.8°
40.9°
32.4°
Less Lhan a year
1-2 years
3-3 years
More Lhan 3 years
10

63" ,5 ," 7(38)$%,529

lL ls wldely accepLed LhaL Lhe local news lndusLry ln Lhe uk ls ln a profound sLaLe of change and
uncerLalnLy. Among numerous oLher facLors, new onllne and soclal medla have been aLLracLlng
adverLlslng revenue away from malnsLream local news - ln parLlcular, Lhe classlfled adverLlslng for
[obs, homes, cars eLc. AL Lhe same Llme, Lhe creaLlve desLrucLlon on LradlLlonal news ouLleLs
wroughL by Web 2.0 servlces, such as blogglng and soclal medla, means LhaL Lhe momenL of
greaLesL flnanclal rlsk for Lhe lndusLry colncldes wlLh Lhe very momenL LhaL access Lo freely
avallable onllne Lools and relaLlvely cheap Lechnology (compuLer, camera phone eLc.) encourages
low-cosL publlshlng.

AL a local level, Lhe lmpacL of Lhese fundamenLal sLrucLural changes has been parLlcularly bruLal.
1he local and reglonal newspaper secLor, whlch was already publlshlng Lo a dlmlnlshlng (and
agelng) audlence, has made huge cuLbacks Lo sLafflng levels over Lhe lasL decade. Whlle some local
papers conLlnue Lo provlde excellenL local [ournallsm, Lhe overall volume and quallLy of
professlonally-produced local news has undoubLedly suffered. Some long-sLandlng newspapers
have closed down enLlrely whlle oLhers have become more cenLrallsed and cover local areas less
exLenslvely. Lven aL lLs mosL proflLable ln Lhe mld- Lo laLe-LwenLleLh cenLury Lhe local newspaper
lndusLry lefL many areas uncovered, a slLuaLlon whlch has rapldly deLerloraLed over Lhe lasL 10-13
years. lor lnsLance, beLween 2007 and Lhe end of 2011 Þress CazeLLe reporLed LhaL 242 local
newspapers closed ln Lhe uk.
14




1he new era of ul? publlshlng has moLlvaLed and enabled some Lo sLarL Lhelr own communlLy news
ouLleLs. Many hyperlocal producers, however, do noL ldenLlfy as [ournallsLs (and many are crlLlcal
of malnsLream local news and have a very amblvalenL relaLlonshlp wlLh lL). Llkewlse, some
malnsLream professlonal [ournallsLs are ofLen relucLanL Lo accepL LhaL Lhe work of bloggers should
be called º[ournallsLlc" (or even LhaL lL can be called ºnews"). WlLh Lhese Lenslons ln mlnd lL ls
lmporLanL Lo ldenLlfy Lrends around how Lhese communlLy news producers self-ldenLlfy, and how
Lhey descrlbe Lhelr own work.

14
hLLp://www.pressgazeLLe.co.uk/node/49213
: ;< =(4 >( -(3 >!518,?! -(38 '-@!8%(1$% $1",+,"-9

ºArLlsanal local [ournallsm"

ºÞromoLlng communlLy and volunLeer-led local evenLs and acLlvlLles"

ºl see lL as ralslng awareness of Lhlngs LhaL are happenlng, buL noL poslng sLrong oplnlons
- l encourage people Lo Lhlnk for Lhemselves"

ºCommunlLy engagemenL Lo lmprove local place"
11



I|gure 8: Wh|ch of these descr|pt|ons ref|ects your hyper|oca| act|v|ty? (n= 141)


8esponses Lo our survey seem Lo reflecL Lhls amblvalence. More Lhan Lwo Lhlrds of respondenLs (70
per cenL) see whaL Lhey do as parLlclpaLlon ln communlLy llfe, whlle over half (37 per cenL) ldenLlfy
lL as local [ournallsm. As our own daLa below demonsLraLed, much hyperlocal ouLpuL does lndeed
cover Lhe klnds of lnformaLlon, campalgnlng and waLchdog acLlvlLles LhaL are regarded as
[ournallsLlc norms. ln a medla markeL where LradlLlonal provlders of local news are ln reLreaL
people are sLepplng ln and self-consclously dolng lL for Lhemselves.

ln one respecL aL leasL, however, Lhese producers ofLen dlffer from Lhelr professlonal counLerparLs:
Lhey rarely work aL Lhls full Llme. 1hls ls very dlfferenL from malnsLream newspaper companles
whlch, Lhough now severely depleLed, run professlonal operaLlons wlLh full-Llme sLaff. As one
respondenL Lo our survey noLed: ºl'm a local [ourno. as and when l have Llme" - an lmporLanL
remlnder LhaL mosL communlLy [ournallsLs cannoL devoLe Lhe same level of human resources Lo
news producLlon as Lhelr professlonal counLerparLs.

Lcholng Lrends ln Lhe news medla Lowards lnLeracLlve communlcaLlons wlLh audlences raLher Lhan
LradlLlonal one-Lo-many wrlLlng or broadcasLlng, a slmllar proporLlon of respondenLs (33 per cenL)
see Lhelr pracLlce as enabllng lnLeracLlon (ºconversaLlon") beLween people aL a local level. !usL over
half see worklng on Lhelr news servlces as an expresslon of ºacLlve clLlzenshlp", and over 40 per
cenL self-ldenLlfy as ºclLlzen [ournallsLs".

We also asked respondenLs wheLher Lhey had any [ournallsLlc Lralnlng or experlence.

70.2°
99
36.7°
80
33.3°
78
34.6°
77
42.6°
60
0.0° 10.0° 20.0° 30.0° 40.0° 30.0° 60.0° 70.0° 80.0°
Cluzen [ournallsm
Acuve cluzenshlp
Local conversauon
Local [ournallsm
CommunlLy paruclpauon
12
I|gure C: What sort of [ourna||st|c tra|n|ng or exper|ence have you had, |f any? (n=144)



!usL over half sald Lhey had no background ln news medla or [ournallsm, suggesLlng LhaL
communlLy news producers are falrly evenly spllL beLween amaLeurs wlLh no experlence and
professlonals (or seml-professlonals) wlLh dlrecL Lralnlng or experlence.

Pyperlocal news ls a badge whlch lncorporaLes a wlde varleLy of creaLlve pracLlces, some of Lhem
qulLe dlfferenL from whaL many would call local news. 8uL a large amounL ls produced by medla-
Lralned lndlvlduals who squarely ldenLlfy Lhelr ouLpuL as [ournallsm. Lven Lhose who consclously
re[ecL Lhe Lerm sLlll cover many of Lhe same Loplcs (ofLen ln very slmllar ways) Lo local news
professlonals, as we wlll see ln Lhe nexL secLlon.

32.1°
73
16.4°
23
18.6°
26
16.4°
23
10.7°
13
14.3°
20
12.9°
18
14.3°
20
13.0°
21
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°

key f|nd|ngs:

• 1he uk communlLy news secLor ls well-esLabllshed, and domlnaLed by players who have
achleved a degree of longevlLy (nearly Lhree quarLers have been produclng news for
over Lhree years, and nearly a Lhlrd for more Lhan flve years).
• Seven ouL of Len producers see whaL Lhey do as a form of acLlve communlLy
parLlclpaLlon, over half see lL as local [ournallsm, and over half as an expresslon of acLlve
clLlzenshlp.
• Large numbers also self-ldenLlfy as producers of local [ournallsm, and almosL half have
[ournallsLlc Lralnlng or experlence worklng ln Lhe malnsLream medla.

13
What k|nd of news do they produce?


=(4 %(1$% ,5 '-@!8%(1$%9

As we observed aL Lhe ouLseL, Lhe Lerm ºhyperlocal" lmplles a narrow geographlcal focus, buL ln
facL covers a wlde varleLy of geographlcal areas.

I|gure D: In genera|, wh|ch of the be|ow best descr|bes the sort of geograph|c area your content
covers? (n=1S7)



Cnly 16 per cenL of our respondenLs alm Lo reach a very local audlence of a nelghbourhood or
vlllage. MosL (almosL 60 per cenL) alm Lo reach areas Lhe slze of Lowns or clLy suburbs, whlch ls no
dlfferenL from mosL uk weekly (and some dally) newspapers. Some communlLy news producers
speak Lo larger areas, wlLh almosL 20 per cenL almlng Lo cover a whole clLy and a furLher nlne per
cenL even furLher afleld.

1hls suggesLs LhaL Lhe phrase ºhyperlocal news" mlghL be beLLer undersLood as referrlng Lo an
emergenL generaLlon of communlLy [ournallsLs, and perhaps Lhelr approaches Lo news producLlon,
raLher Lhan Lhelr geographlcal space.


A'$" )!45 >( "'!- 1(+!89

1he Lerms ºcommunlLy" and ºhyperlocal" news are broad classlflcaLlons whlch encompass a varleLy
of pracLlces and Lypes of news conLenL. ln order Lo deLermlne Lhe naLure of hyperlocal ouLpuL, we
asked respondenLs whaL Lhelr slLes had covered ln Lhe lasL Lwo years.


13.9°
23
38.6°
92
17.2°
27
3.7°
9
2.3°
4
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
very local - [usL a few
sLreeLs or vlllage
based
CulLe local - Lown or
clLy suburb
8roader Lhan local -
clLy based
More reglonal -
counLy based
lurLher añeld
14
I|gure L: 1h|nk|ng of the content that you have pub||shed |n the |ast two years, wh|ch of
the fo||ow|ng top|cs have you covered? (n=1S6)


Local communlLy evenLs (meeLlngs of local clubs or socleLles, communlLy celebraLlons) are covered
by almosL all of our respondenLs (94 per cenL), closely followed by culLural or enLerLalnmenL evenLs
(86 per cenL), all of whlch correspond Lo Lhe ºparlsh newsleLLer" model whlch some assoclaLe wlLh
Lhe hyperlocal label. lnformaLlon abouL local evenLs ls lmporLanL boLh ln leLLlng people know whaL
ls golng on locally, and ln promoLlng Lhe vlslblllLy of local groups.


8eyond communlLy lnformaLlon, however, Lhe vasL ma[orlLy of slLes also produce Lhe klnds of
harder pollLlcal news and lnformaLlon more LradlLlonally assoclaLed wlLh Lhe local and reglonal
93.6°
146
83.9°
134
80.8°
126
78.8°
123
77.6°
121
73.0°
117
69.9°
109
64.1°
100
62.8°
98
62.8°
98
60.3°
94
36.4°
88
33.8°
87
33.3°
33
34.6°
34
29.3°
46
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
80.0°
90.0°
100.0°
: ;< &',)B,)* (. "'! 1()"!)" "'$" -(3 '$+! @3?%,5'!> ,) "'! %$5" "4(
-!$85C 4'$" '$+! -(3 1(+!8!>9

ºWe are prlmarlly a campalgn slLe - campalgnlng for local conservaLlon and local
lmprovemenLs"

º1he slLe provldes serlous coverage of pollLlcs, publlc pollcy and publlc affalrs - or clvlc
llfe lf you prefer"

ºLr, well loLs of sLuff really... snow! new eaLerles, Lrafflc, weaLher, roadworks, car parks,
supermarkeLs vs local Lraders, local alrporL news/lssues . susLalnablllLy/green lssues"

ºÞersonal memorles and recollecLlons"
13
press. Around 80 per cenL of respondenLs say Lhey have covered councll meeLlngs and declslons,
and a slmllar proporLlon more speclflcally menLloned plannlng declslons or dlspuLes. nearly Lwo
Lhlrds sald Lhey had covered local elecLlon or local elecLlon candldaLes, suggesLlng LhaL hyperlocal
slLes could have an lmporLanL role ln promoLlng parLlclpaLlon ln local democracy. ln addlLlon, Lhe
hlgh numbers of respondenLs who say Lhey have covered local hlsLory, buslnesses, and lnsLlLuLlons
such as Lhe courLs, pollce, and schools, ls LesLlmony Lo Lhe broad cross-secLlon of communlLy llfe
belng reporLed by Lhese slLes.


D$2@$,*),)* 1(223),"- )!459

An lnLegral funcLlon of local news ouLleLs has always been Lo provlde a plaLform for campalgnlng
volces on conLenLlous local lssues, a [ob arguably made more lmporLanL when recesslon-lnduced
ausLerlLy measures are lmpacLlng hard on local governmenL budgeLs and Lherefore local servlces.
Such campalgns have ofLen been a feaLure of malnsLream local news ouLleLs, speaklng up for Lhe
communlLles Lhey serve and provldlng a forum for publlc debaLe.

uoes Lhe new generaLlon of communlLy [ournallsLs cover Lhese campalgns, or even lnsLlgaLe Lhem?
ln many cases, Lhey do.



: ;< A'$" 5(8" (. 1$2@$,*)5 '$+! -(3 1$88,!> (3"E9

ºWe campalgned Lo geL a waLer play area ln Lhe maln park"

ºLncouraged readershlp Lo respond Lo a councll consulLaLlon on plans Lo resLrlcL
new laLe-nlghL llcences ln Lhe area"

ºCampalgn[ed] Lo geL changes Lo Lhe Lown's rlng road repealed"

ºWe sLarLed a campalgn Lo help a famlly who losL everyLhlng ln a house flre"

º1rled Lo sLop a local swlmmlng pool from shuLLlng because of councll cuLs"

ºSupporLlng a local soup klLchen from belng moved from a publlc open space"

ºCrganlslng local people Lo Lake an acLlve role ln engaglng wlLh plannlng appllcaLlons
and plannlng enforcemenL on a local shopplng sLreeL"

º8alse[d] awareness of houslng by hosplLal charlLy belng sold off and maklng docLors and
nurses homeless"

ºÞoor workmanshlp by councll conLracLors removlng slgnage and leavlng pavemenLs
ln dangerous condlLlon"

16
AlmosL Lhree quarLers (72 per cenL) of respondenLs sald Lhey had [olned ln or supporLed a local
campalgn ln Lhe lasL Lwo years (n=139). 1he average (mean) number of campalgns was flve, and
Lhe medlan was Lhree (n=93). Moreover, 42 per cenL had º5"$8"!> a campalgn whlch soughL Lo
change Lhlngs locally" ln Lhe same perlod, an lmpresslve flgure glven Lhe Llme and efforL lnvolved
ln sLarLlng, bulldlng, and susLalnlng a new campalgn. (n=139). 1he mean number of campalgns
lnlLlaLed by producers Lhemselves was Lhree, and Lhe medlan was Lwo. 1hough apparenLly small
numbers, we should remember LhaL campalgns are ofLen long-runnlng sLorles whlch are covered
repeaLedly over Llme.

1he raw flgures only Lell us parL of Lhe sLory. We also asked parLlclpanLs Lo glve us a quallLaLlve
lnslghL lnLo Lhe campalgns Lhey have run on Lhelr communlLy news slLes by noLlng down examples
of Lhe mosL recenL, and Lhe mosL lmporLanL campalgns Lhey have lnlLlaLed and supporLed. 1hese
quallLaLlve responses were Lhen analysed, caLegorlsed, and coded.

1ab|e A: 1he focus of campa|gns |n|t|ated and supported by Uk commun|ty news
producers (coded from 28S qua||tat|ve responses)
Iocus of campa|gn:
Most recent
|n|t|ated
(n=64)
Most
|mportant
|n|t|ated
(n=S4)
Most recent
supported
(n=93)
Most
|mportant
supported
(n=74)
Þ|ann|ng]L|cens|ng 13 14 30 19
Loca| pub||c serv|ces 11 11 23 18
Improvements to |nfrastructure 8 7 18 6
Loca| bus|ness |ssues 6 3 13 9
Loca| char|ty 2 1 9 2
Lnv|ronmenta| |ssues 7 3 4 7
Commun|ty act|on 4 2 4 4
Improvements to amen|t|es 10 12 3 3
Counc|| (other) 3 2 2 3
Counc|| accountab|||ty 11 4 1 1
Counc|| ma|pract|ce 0 2 1 2
Nat|ona| po||t|ca| |ssues 3 0 1 1
Cther 8 6 9 4

1he response raLe was lower, as ls common wlLh open-ended raLher Lhan mulLlple cholce
quesLlons. Lven so, many of Lhose answers were rlch ln conLenL, yleldlng numerous examples, and
when aggregaLed glve us a good lndlcaLlon of campalgnlng acLlvlLles.

Campalgns around plannlng and llcenslng are boLh supporLed $)> lnlLlaLed by communlLy news
producers, and malnly conslsLed of plannlng lssues around conLenLlous local developmenLs. Many
also lncluded an envlronmenLal aspecL Lo do wlLh Lhe proLecLlon of local green spaces, or were
relaLed Lo local buslnesses (e.g. local opposlLlon Lo Lhe proposed openlng of chaln supermarkeL
ouLleLs), buL a few relaLed Lo relaLlvely mlnor local lssues such as Lhe granLlng of alcohol or Lake-
away food llcences. Campalgns around local publlc servlces (largely ln opposlLlon Lo 13"5 Lo such
servlces) were also common ln boLh caLegorles. lor lnsLance, Lhere were many campalgns agalnsL
llbrary closures, and a slgnlflcanL number around percelved LhreaLs Lo Lhe provlslon of healLhcare
and educaLlon servlces.

17
Campalgnlng for lmprovemenLs Lo local lnfrasLrucLure was also falrly common, elLher calllng on
auLhorlLles Lo make - or lobbylng agalnsL - subsLanLlal changes Lo local roads, Lraln llnes, or
provlslon for cycllsLs. Local buslness campalgns normally lnvolved calls Lo promoLe local
lndependenL shops and resLauranLs, and lncluded numerous ºshop local" campalgns.

ºCommunlLy acLlon" campalgns were elLher ln favour of, agalnsL, or llnked Lo Lhe acLlvlLles of local
nelghbourhood plans and nelghbourhood forums, enLlLles enabled under Lhe Locallsm AcL whlch
are deslgned Lo enable more democraLlc conLrol of plannlng lssues. 1he numerous campalgns
menLloned agalnsL Lhese bodles, however, suggesL concern ln some communlLles abouL how
democraLlc Lhey acLually are ln pracLlce. Powever, communlLy news producers were more llkely Lo
lnlLlaLe campalgns whlch called for lmprovemenLs Lo local amenlLles such as slgnage, local parks,
car parklng, play areas, or Lhe cleanllness of a local area (e.g. ln relaLlon Lo Lhose favourlLe uk
preoccupaLlons: llLLer and dog poo).

A number of campalgns dealL speclflcally wlLh local councll responslblllLles. Several called for
greaLer Lransparency and accounLablllLy from local governmenL lnsLlLuLlons, calllng on counclls Lo
allow Lhe fllmlng, recordlng, or llve coverage of meeLlngs. lL ls perhaps unsurprlslng LhaL Lhese were
among Lhe mosL llkely Lo be ,),",$"!> by communlLy [ournallsLs, as resLrlcLlons on reporLlng dlrecLly
affecL Lhelr ablllLles Lo cover Lhe affalrs of local pollLlcal lnsLlLuLlons. 1here were also a few
lnsLances of much more serlous councll-relaLed malpracLlce such as campalgns around Lhe mlsuse
of publlc funds, or lllegal paymenLs made Lo local buslnesses.


F)+!5",*$",+! '-@!8%(1$% )!459

Alongslde campalgns, lnvesLlgaLlve [ournallsm ls ofLen lnvoked as one of Lhe cruclal funcLlons of
local news. Clven LhaL lnvesLlgaLlons can be rlsky and Llme consumlng, parLlcularly for amaLeurs
conducLlng Lhem ln Lhelr spare Llme and wlLhouL lnsLlLuLlonal supporL from Lralned colleagues or
quallfled legal advlsors, Lhe number of respondenLs dolng Lhls klnd of work ls lmpresslve.
lnvesLlgaLlve [ournallsm ls almosL cerLalnly decllnlng ln Lhe malnsLream local press preclsely
because of lLs resource-lnLenslve naLure. lL ls as surprlslng as lL ls graLlfylng, Lhen, Lo see LhaL many
communlLy [ournallsLs ln Lhe uk are seeklng Lo hold local ellLes Lo accounL.

AlmosL half of respondenLs (44 per cenL) sald LhaL Lhey had ºcarrled ouL an lnvesLlgaLlon where Lhe
slLe has helped Lo uncover conLroverslal new lnformaLlon abouL local clvlc lssues or evenLs ln Lhe
lasL Lwo years" (n=134). 1he quesLlon wordlng was deslgned Lo convey as clearly as posslbly our
focus on acLlve lnvesLlgaLlons uncoverlng conLenLlous lnformaLlon abouL local munlclpal llfe. 1he
average (mean) number of lnvesLlgaLlons declared was slx, and Lhe medlan was Lwo (n=33).
13


As before, respondenLs were asked for brlef deLalls of Lhelr mosL recenL, and Lhelr mosL lmporLanL,
lnvesLlgaLlons.


13
1he medlan, Lhe mlddle value ln Lhe dlsLrlbuLlon, ls perhaps Lhe mosL useful here. 1he mean ls so much
hlgher because a small number of ouLleLs had carrled ouL a dlsproporLlonaLely large number of lnvesLlgaLlons
ln Lhe pasL Lwo years.
18



1ab|e 8: 1he focus of |nvest|gat|ons carr|ed out by Uk commun|ty news producers (coded
from 100 qua||tat|ve responses)

Iocus of |nvest|gat|on:
Most recent
|nvest|gat|on (n=S6)
Most |mportant
|nvest|gat|on (n=44)
Þ|ann|ng]L|cens|ng 10 9
Loca| hea|th]soc|a| care serv|ces 6 3
Counc|| ma|pract|ce 6 7
Counc|| cuts 6 6
Loca| |nfrastructure 6 6
Counc|| accountab|||ty 3 3
Loca| amen|t|es 4 2
Loca| bus|ness |ssues 4 2
Loca| educat|on serv|ces 3 2
Loca| po||ce 3 1
Lnv|ronmenta| |ssues 3 3
Counc|| waste 2 0
Cther 4 2

1hls suggesLs parLlcular focus on lnvesLlgaLlons lnLo plannlng lssues, as well as scruLlny of councll
malpracLlce, servlce cuLs, lnfrasLrucLure pro[ecLs, and oLher areas of local governmenL
accounLablllLy.

: ;< A'$" 5(8" (. ,)+!5",*$",()5 '$+! -(3 1$88,!> (3"9

ºlood wasLe/dumplng by cafes and a supermarkeL leadlng Lo lnfesLaLlon of raLs"

º1he local councll Lurnlng a green fleld slLe Lo brown fleld Lo bulld a chlldren's home"

ºCur slLe ls consLanLly lnvesLlgaLlng Lhe conducL of our local councll, MÞs and elecLed
offlclals"

ºlree school Lo be bullL . hadn'L been announced unLll we lnvesLlgaLed"

ºulscovered plans Lo close a local lelsure cenLre before made publlc"

ºuncoverlng unseen reporLs on bus sLaLlon whlch showed some cosLs had been
alLered before Lhe lssue of Lhe bulldlng's fuLure was debaLed by Lhe councll"

19




key f|nd|ngs:

• CommunlLy news slLes cover a wlde varleLy of local news of boLh clvlc and culLural value,
lncludlng news abouL local communlLy groups and evenLs, and local governmenL lssues
(parLlcularly plannlng).
• nearly Lhree quarLers of respondenLs have covered local campalgns lnsLlgaLed by oLhers,
and well over a Lhlrd have lnsLlgaLed Lhelr own. lssues relaLe mosLly Lo plannlng
dlspuLes, cuLs Lo local publlc servlces, lmprovemenLs Lo local amenlLles, and local councll
accounLablllLy.
• uesplLe lacklng lnsLlLuLlonal and professlonal supporL, a slgnlflcanL mlnorlLy have also
carrled ouL local waLchdog lnvesLlgaLlve [ournallsm.
• 1he Lerm ºhyperlocal" should noL be undersLood Loo llLerally - mosL slLes cover
geographlcal areas akln Lo small Lowns or clLy suburbs.

20
Aud|ences for hyper|oca| news


ConvenLlonal wlsdom dlcLaLes LhaL audlences for local communlLy news are very small, so
collecLlng more accuraLe lnformaLlon from slLe provlders ls lmporLanL. ln facL, we know from
ClCCM's rlgorous audlence research LhaL Lhls form of news ls growlng ln popularlLy: 7 per cenL of
adulLs ln Lhe uk currenLly access Lhese slLes once a week or more, and 14 per cenL aL leasL monLhly.
Whlle nowhere near Lhe slze of reglonal 1v news audlences (accessed by 76 per cenL weekly and 80
per cenL monLhly), Lhese flgures are noL much smaller Lhan Lhose for local newspaper webslLes (13
per cenL weekly and 19 per cenL monLhly).
16
8uL whaL do producers know abouL Lhelr own
audlences?


0)(4%!>*! (. $3>,!)1! .,*38!5

Cver Lwo Lhlrds of respondenLs, 69 per cenL, clalm Lo know how many unlque webslLe vlslLors Lhey
achleve per monLh, and 74 per cenL how many page lmpresslons. 1hls leaves over a quarLer who do
noL know, who noL wlsh Lo know, or don'L know how Lo flnd ouL, abouL Lhe klnd of webslLe
analyLlcs LhaL are necessary for generaLlng lncome. 1hose who knew were asked Lo record Lhelr
average monLhly ºunlques" and page vlews, yleldlng Lhe followlng resulLs.

1wo flndlngs sLand ouL. llrsL, Lhere ls a broad dlsLrlbuLlon of audlence slzes amongsL uk hyperlocal
slLes. Second, Lhe greaL ma[orlLy of slLes have relaLlvely small audlences compared wlLh a mlnorlLy
of heavy hlLLers. !usL Lwo producers ln our sample clalm a monLhly average of over 100,000 unlque
users, whlle 33 clalm beLween 10,000 and 100,000 and Lhe remalnlng 33 below 10,000. A slmllar
paLLern can be found ln Lhe dlsLrlbuLlon of monLhly average page lmpresslons. 1he average (mean)
number of unlque vlslLors Lo uk hyperlocals ls 17,270, buL Lhls ls skewed by a small number of slLes
wlLh large audlences. 1he medlan number of page lmpresslons ln Lhls cohorL was 3039.
17


1hose slLes whlch are mosL heavlly frequenLed are arguably sLarLlng Lo provlde some compeLlLlon
for Lhe webslLes of professlonal local newspaper publlshers, especlally Lhose who have been slower
Lo embrace onllne dlsLrlbuLlon. AlLhough exacL audlence comparlsons are noLorlously dlfflculL, and
even Lhe mosL successful hyperlocal slLes lag behlnd Lhelr longer esLabllshed local news rlvals, one
example uslng publlshed flgures wlll help Lo lllusLraLe Lhe narrowlng gap. Cne of Lhe mosL
successful communlLy news sLarLups ln Lhe uk ls Llncoln's 1he G,)1(%),"! (LhellncolnlLe.co.uk), whlch
alms Lo be a general onllne news servlce for Lhe Lown and lLs surroundlng commuLer areas. lL
clalms on lLs webslLe Lo have 171,712 average monLhly unlque users.
18
1he local newspaper, whlch
addresses an only somewhaL broader reglonal audlence, ls Local World's well esLabllshed
G,)1(%)5',8! H1'( and lLs assoclaLed webslLe (llncolnshlreecho.co.uk). Accordlng Lo Lhe AudlL 8ureau
of ClrculaLlon (A8C) Lhe webslLe aLLracLs more Lhan double 1he G,)1(%),"!'s audlence wlLh 368,903
monLhly unlque users.
19
Clven Lhe relaLlve youLh of Llncoln's hyperlocal slLe compared wlLh lLs local

16
hLLp://sLakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/blnarles/research/cmr/cmr12/CM8_uk_2012.pdf (p.104)
17
As above, Lhe medlan ls a more accuraLe average because of Lhe hlghly skewed naLure of Lhe dlsLrlbuLlon
18
hLLp://LhellncolnlLe.co.uk/adverLlslng/
19
hLLp://www.abc.org.uk/CerLlflcaLes/19101103.pdf
21
newspaper rlval, Lhls provldes a very good lllusLraLlon of Lhe poLenLlal for onllne sLarL-ups ln
medlum-slzed Lowns.

I|gure I: Average month|y un|que v|s|tors to Uk commun|ty news s|tes (n=90)


I|gure G: Month|y average page v|ews of Uk commun|ty news s|tes (n=98)



D(223),"- )!45 $3>,!)1!5 () 5(1,$% 2!>,$

vlslLors Lo hyperlocal webslLes only glve us parL of Lhe audlence plcLure. lurLher lndlcaLors of Lhelr
reach come from soclal medla neLworks, and our flndlngs lndlcaLe LhaL hyperlocal news players are
acLlve on a wlde varleLy of soclal neLworklng plaLforms lncludlng dedlcaLed dlscusslon forums,
?ouLube, lnsLagram, lllckr, Coogle+, 8eddlL, and 1umblr.

1wlLLer and lacebook, however, are Lhe mosL wldely used.

1ab|e C: Do you use 1w|tter for
hyper|oca| act|v|ty? (n=143)


1ab|e D: Do you use Iacebook
for hyper|oca| act|v|ty? (n=14S)


?es 90.9° (130)

?es 79.3° (113)
no 9.1° (13)

no 20.7° (30)

Large ma[orlLles of our respondenLs use 1wlLLer (91 per cenL) and lacebook (79 per cenL). Cn
1wlLLer some producers use only Lhelr own personal accounLs Lo engage wlLh audlences (13 per
0
23000
30000
73000
100000
123000
130000
173000
0 20 40 60 80 100
0
100000
200000
300000
400000
300000
600000
700000
0 20 40 60 80 100
22
cenL), buL mosL have a dedlcaLed 1wlLLer accounL (77 per cenL). AlmosL a quarLer sald Lhey use boLh
(23 per cenL).

We asked respondenLs Lo quanLlfy Lhe numbers of llkes and followers on Lhelr dedlcaLed lacebook
pages and 1wlLLer accounLs. As Lhe dlsLrlbuLlon curves above lndlcaLe, 1wlLLer seems Lo be a more
popular soclal medla forum Lhan lacebook. nlne per cenL of respondenLs have over 10,001 1wlLLer
followers, LhlrLeen per cenL beLween 3,001 and 10,000, 37 per cenL beLween 1,001 and 3,000
followers, and Lhe remalnlng 40 per cenL have aLLracLed fewer Lhan 1,000. Cn lacebook slx per
cenL of respondenLs have more Lhan 10,000 llkes, 32 per cenL have beLween 1,001 and 10,000, and
Lhe ma[orlLy (62 per cenL) have fewer Lhan 1,000.


I|gure n: Numbers of fo||owers of hyper|oca| 1w|tter accounts (n=108)


I|gure I: Numbers of ||kes on ded|cated hyper|oca| Iacebook pages (n= 87)



=(4 231' (. "'!,8 @("!)",$% "$8*!" $3>,!)1!5 >( /0 1(223),"- )!45 5,"!5
8!$1'9

We also gaLhered lnformaLlon abouL LargeL audlence slze, glven Lhe very varled alms, slze and
scope of hyperlocal slLes. 1hese flgures should only be LreaLed as lndlcaLlve slnce Lhey are based on
parLlclpanLs' recall and self-reporLlng. 1hey are also based on a relaLlvely small sub-sample slnce
many respondenLs dld noL know Lhe slze of Lhelr LargeL audlence. neverLheless, Lhe pauclLy of
audlence lnformaLlon makes Lhls a useful exerclse.


0
2300
3000
7300
10000
12300
13000
17300
20000
22300
23000
27300
0 30 100
0
3000
10000
13000
20000
23000
30000
33000
40000
43000
30000
33000
60000
0 30 100
23
I|gure I: Month|y un|que v|s|tors as a proport|on of a s|te's target aud|ence s|ze (n=89)

AlmosL 40 per cenL of respondenLs (34) reach [usL Len per cenL or less of Lhelr poLenLlal local
audlence, wlLh a furLher 16 per cenL (14) reachlng beLween 11 and 20 per cenL. 1hlrLy per cenL (27)
clalm Lo reach beLween 21 and 100 percenL. Powever, 16 per cenL (14) say Lhey reach 2(8! Lhan
Lhe LoLal populaLlon of Lhelr LargeL audlence. 1hls ls mosL common where Lhe LargeL audlence ls
qulLe small, where Lhere exlsLs a slgnlflcanL exLra poLenLlal audlence ln Lhe lmmedlaLe surroundlng
area (e.g. as parL of a commuLer belL around a Lown), and/or where Lhe placemenL of a news
servlce aLLracLs a large amounL of ºpasslng Lrade" from non locals (e.g. when a ma[or LransporL hub
or vlslLor aLLracLlon falls wlLhln your paLch or shares Lhe name wlLh your webslLe address).

I|gure k: Iacebook ||kes as a proport|on of a s|te's target aud|ence s|ze (n=87)


1hese flgures suggesL LhaL uk hyperlocals' reach on lacebook ls slgnlflcanLly under-explolLed, wlLh
Lhe vasL ma[orlLy of 81 per cenL (70) reachlng Len per cenL or less of Lhelr LargeL audlence slze. A
furLher LhlrLeen per cenL (11) reach beLween 11 and 20 per cenL, and very few do any beLLer.


34
14
7
6
3
4
2 2
1
2
8
6
0
3
10
13
20
23
30
33
40
70
11
2
0 0
1 1
0 0 0
2
0
10
20
30
40
30
60
70
80
0-10° 11-20° 21-30° 31-40° 41-30° 31-60° 61-70° 71-80° 81-90° 91-100° 101-200°
24
I|gure L: 1w|tter fo||owers as a proport|on of a s|te's target aud|ence s|ze (n=108)



1he plcLure ls a llLLle more encouraglng on 1wlLLer, wlLh larger numbers of producers managlng Lo
reach proporLlonally hlgher numbers of Lhelr LargeL audlences. 1wo Lhlrds of Lhose who have a
presence on 1wlLLer say Lhey reach up Lo Len per cenL of Lhelr LargeL populaLlon slze, and more
Lhan a quarLer say Lhey reach beLween 11 and 30 per cenL.

ln aggregaLe, our flndlngs suggesL LhaL aLLalnlng hlgh levels of vlslblllLy wlLhln LargeL audlences ls
sLlll a slgnlflcanL problem, buL neverLheless mosL reporL LhaL Lhelr audlence flgures are lncreaslng.


I3>,!)1! ,)18!$5!5 .(8 /0 1(223),"- )!45 5,"!5

We asked parLlclpanLs Lo Lell us where Lhey had experlenced growLh ln audlence numbers ln Lhe
lasL year.

I|gure M: 1h|nk|ng about the |ast 12 months, on wh|ch of these p|atforms have you seen
aud|ence growth? (n=138)


AlmosL nlne ouL of Len have seen Lhelr number of 1wlLLer followers grow, and around seven ouL of
Len have lmproved Lhelr audlence flgures on Lhelr webslLes proper and on lacebook. Small
mlnorlLles also menLloned growlng audlence numbers on dedlcaLed dlscusslon forums, ?ou1ube, as
well as Coogle+, ÞlnLeresL, and lnsLagram (alLhough ofLen from very low bases).
71
13
8
3
2 2
0 0
1
0
3
1
0
20
40
60
80
83.3°
118
71.0°
98
68.1°
94
8.7°
12
7.2°
10
3.1°
7
13.2°
21
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
80.0°
90.0°
1wluer WebslLe /
blog
lacebook ulscusslon
forum
?ou1ube no growLh on
any plauorm
CLher
23

We also asked parLlclpanLs Lo Lell us on whlch slngle plaLform Lhey had seen Lhe mosL growLh over
Lhe same perlod.

I|gure N: 1h|nk|ng about the |ast 12 months, on wh|ch of these p|atforms have you seen the most
aud|ence growth? (n=137)

Cne ln Lhree respondenLs saw Lhe mosL audlence growLh on Lhelr own webslLes or on 1wlLLer, wlLh
one ln flve reporLlng Lhe mosL growLh on lacebook.




36.3°
30
31.4°
43
19.7°
27
2.2°
3
1.3°
2
0.7°
1
8.0°
11
0.0°
3.0°
10.0°
13.0°
20.0°
23.0°
30.0°
33.0°
40.0°
WebslLe /
blog
1wluer lacebook ulscusslon
forum
?ou1ube CLher unable Lo say

key f|nd|ngs:

• More Lhan Lwo Lhlrds of hyperlocal news producers have knowledge of baslc audlence
sLaLs for Lhelr slLes such as monLhly unlque vlslLors and page lmpresslons.
• MosL hyperlocal news slLes suffer from a lack of vlslblllLy ln Lhelr own communlLles, wlLh
only very few reachlng a hlgh percenLage of Lhelr poLenLlal local audlences.
• 1here ls a small group of hlgh-performlng communlLy news slLes reachlng slgnlflcanL
audlences of beLween 10,000 and 100,000 monLhly ºunlques", buL mosL reach qulLe
modesL audlences (Lhe medlan number of monLhly unlque vlslLors ls 3039).
• 91 per cenL of producers use 1wlLLer and 79 per cenL use lacebook for Lhelr communlLy
news acLlvlLles.
• uesplLe Lhe vlslblllLy problem, large ma[orlLles of hyperlocal news producers conLlnue Lo
see audlence growLh on Lhelr own webslLes, as well as on key soclal medla plaLforms.
26
Susta|n|ng commun|ty news

Clven Lhe decllnlng revenues of 8rlLaln's local press, economlc susLalnablllLy wlll be a vlLal lssue for
new local venLures. Local news Lakes Llme, efforL, and money Lo produce and clrculaLe (even lf, as
for much hyperlocal news, Lhese are glven freely by volunLeers). We Lherefore asked abouL Lhe
resources and Llme lnvesLed ln runnlng hyperlocal slLes.


&'! '32$) 8!5(381!5 ?!',)> '-@!8%(1$% )!45

llrsLly, we asked respondenLs how much Llme Lhey spend on Lhelr slLes ln an average week,
lncludlng all aspecLs of edlLorlal, managemenL and flnance.

!usL over a quarLer (27 per cenL) spend fewer Lhan flve hours on Lhelr slLes ln an average week,
sllghLly more beLween flve and Len hours (30°). AlmosL one ln flve puL ln beLween 11 and 20 hours
per week, and almosL one ln Len beLween 21 and 30 hours. 1he greaL ma[orlLy, Lhen (83 per cenL),
can be descrlbed as parL-Llme, wlLh over half (37 per cenL) worklng Len hours or fewer. AlmosL a
flfLh of respondenLs, however (17 per cenL), say Lhey work more Lhan 31 hours a week, Lhe
equlvalenL of a normal worklng week.

I|gure C: In an average week, how much t|me do you persona||y spend on manag|ng your s|te
(|nc|ud|ng wr|t|ng and research|ng mater|a|, dea||ng w|th techn|ca| |ssues, manag|ng other
contr|butors or vo|unteers, se|||ng advert|s|ng etc.)? (n=17S)


1he LoLal number of hours worked on Lhese slLes lncreases when work by oLher conLrlbuLors ls
consldered.


27.4°
48
29.7°
32
17.1°
30
8.6°
13
6.3°
11
6.3°
11
4.6°
8
0.0°
3.0°
10.0°
13.0°
20.0°
23.0°
30.0°
33.0°
lewer Lhan 3
hours
3-10 hours 11-20 hours 21-30 hours 31-40 hours 41-30 hours More Lhan
30 hours a
week
27
I|gure Þ: 1h|nk|ng of the tota| number of hours spent on operat|ng, manag|ng and updat|ng the
s|te, and add|ng together a|| the hours spent by those |nvo|ved, how much t|me do you th|nk |s
spent on the s|te |n an average week? (n=167)



Lven so, over four slLes ln Len (43 per cenL) lnvolve Len hours' work or less per week, essenLlally
llLLle more Lhan hobbles. Around a Lhlrd lnvolve 21 Lo 30 hours per week, a more subsLanLlal
underLaklng. 1haL leaves a quarLer whlch, aL more Lhan 30 hours of work each week, can be
regarded as slzeable operaLlons whlch demand a slgnlflcanL amounL of Llme.


=(4 231' >(!5 /0 1(223),"- )!45 1(5"9

Cne reason for Lhe growLh ln hyperlocal slLes ls Lhe emergence of low cosL publlshlng Lools such as
WordÞress and 8logger whlch have subsLanLlally reduced Lhe cosLs of esLabllshlng a news slLe and
news dlsLrlbuLlon. 8uL Lhere are ofLen sLlll flnanclal cosLs Lo be pald, whlch can lncrease wlLh Lhe
slze of Lhe slLe. Whlle Lhe greaL ma[orlLy of slLes are lndeed very low malnLenance ln money Lerms,
a few demand slgnlflcanL cash lnvesLmenL.

I|gure Ç: In an average month, how much does the s|te cost to run (p|ease count on|y money
actua||y spent, |gnor|ng the unpa|d t|me of yourse|f or others)? (n= 164)


21.6°
36
21.0°
33
18.0°
30
14.4°
24
8.4°
14
11.4°
19
3.6°
6
1.2°
2
0.0°
0
0.6°
1
0.0°
3.0°
10.0°
13.0°
20.0°
23.0°
lewer
Lhan 3
hours
3-10
hours
11-20
hours
21-30
hours
31-30
hours
31-100
hours
101-200
hours
201-300
hours
301-300
hours
More
Lhan 300
hours a
week
78.0°
128
7.9°
13
2.4°
4
3.3°
9
3.0°
3
3.0°
3
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
80.0°
90.0°
Less Lhan £100 £100-230 £231-300 £301-1000 £1001-2000 More Lhan
£2000
28
Around 8 ouL of 10 (78°) puL Lhe cosL of runnlng Lhelr slLe aL less Lhan £100 per monLh. AL
Lhe oLher end of Lhe scale, a LoLal of 10 slLes (or 6 per cenL of respondenLs) spend over
£1000 per monLh. ln beLween, around 10 per cenL spend beLween £100 and £300 and a
sllghLly smaller proporLlon spend beLween £300 and £2000.

A'( .3)>5 '-@!8%(1$% )!459

noL surprlslngly, glven Lhe low ouLgolngs for Lhe greaL ma[orlLy of slLes, mosL communlLy
news producers subsldlse Lhelr acLlvlLles wlLh Lhelr own money. Some, however, do ralse
money from oLher sources.

nearly Lwo Lhlrds of respondenLs (63 per cenL) sald Lhey pay all slLe assoclaLed cosLs
Lhemselves raLher Lhan Lrylng Lo generaLe revenues from whaL Lhey do Lo cover cosLs,
leavlng over a Lhlrd who do ralse money (however small Lhe amounL). lor one ln Len, Lhe
revenue ralsed does noL even cover Lhelr cosLs, and a furLher one ln Len ralses [usL enough
Lo pay Lhelr bllls. !usL one ln slx make enough Lo reLurn a proflL, wheLher LhaL ls pald Lo
Lhemselves or oLhers, or relnvesLed ln Lhe slLe.

I|gure k: Do you pay a|| the costs yourse|f, or do you ra|se money from the s|te to cover
them, however sma|| (exc|ud|ng the cost of your own t|me)? (n=171)




A'$" $8! "'! 8!+!)3! 5(381!59

1hose who dld generaLe lncome were asked abouL Lhelr sources. Clven Lhe small sub-
sample lnvolved (61), lL ls more accuraLe Lo express responses ln Lerms of raw numbers Lhan
percenLages.


62.6°
107
9.9°
17
11.1°
19
16.4°
28
l pay all Lhe cosLs assoclaLde wlLh
runnlng my webslLe myself
l ralse money from Lhe slLe buL noL
enough Lo cover all Lhe cosLs
l ralse money from Lhe slLe whlch [usL
abouL covers Lhe cosLs
l ralse money from Lhe slLe whlch more
Lhan covers Lhe cosLs
29
I|gure S: Wh|ch of the fo||ow|ng are sources of fund|ng for your hyper|oca| s|te? (n=61)


AdverLlslng ls Lhe mosL common fundlng source (47 ouL of 61)). Clven Lhe collapse ln
adverLlslng revenue for LradlLlonal local news sources (parLlcularly ln prlnL, where Lhe
mlgraLlon of classlfled adverLlslng Lo onllne has hlL hard), Lhls ls an unpredlcLable lncome
sLream, wlLh adverLlsers uncerLaln abouL Lhe value of onllne audlences. Moreover, research
lnLo Lhe markeL for hyperlocal adverLlslng lndlcaLes LhaL Lhe chances of small adverLlsers
susLalnlng a Lhrlvlng communlLy news secLor are sllm.
20


As well as uslng Lhelr own money (27 cases), a furLher 19 sald Lhey employ sponsored
feaLures, 13 secured donaLlons (and 4 generaLed lncome from subscrlpLlons), and 13 recelve
granLs.
21
CLher sources of revenue clLed by respondenLs lnclude: adverLlslng revenues from
free prlnLed newspapers (a low-Lech opLlon belng underLaken and explored by an lncreaslng
number of hyperlocals who flnd Lhe large guaranLeed audlence of a free prlnL run easler Lo
sell Lo local adverLlsers Lhan lnLerneL adverLlslng), selllng merchandlse Lhrough local
buslnesses, selllng edlLorlal conLenL Lo oLher news organlsaLlons, and afflllaLe schemes (such
as commlsslons on resLauranL booklngs).

Cn Lhe basls LhaL many slLes wlll earn revenue from more Lhan one source, we asked Lhe
same respondenLs abouL Lhe prlnclpal fundlng mechanlsm. AdverLlslng ls by far Lhe mosL
popular, followed by self-fundlng and granLs.



20
hLLp://www.nesLa.org.uk/slLes/defaulL/flles/research_on_local_adverLlslng_markeLs.pdf
21
numerous bodles, lncludlng nesLa, Lhe 1echnology SLraLegy 8oard, Lhe Carnegle uk 1rusL, and co-operaLlves
uk have provlded fundlng for uk hyperlocals ln recenL years under varlous lnlLlaLlves, and some communlLy
news provlders have Laken advanLage of sLarL up, and buslness supporL, granLs admlnlsLered by local
auLhorlLles.
77.0°
47
44.3°
27
31.1°
19
27.9°
17
24.6°
13
24.6°
13
6.6°
4
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
80.0°
90.0°
Adveruslng My own
money
Sponsored
feaLures
volunLary
donauons
CranL fundlng Subs-
scrlpuons
CLher
30
I|gure 1: Wh|ch of these |s your ma|n source of fund|ng? (n=61)


CLher responses whlch were speclfled, and whlch demonsLraLe some healLhy
enLrepreneurlal splrlL, lncluded: pald-for llsLlngs ln a buslness dlrecLory, sponsorshlp of Lhe
slLe by a Lhlrd parLy, and a varleLy of separaLe buslness endeavours whlch cross-subsldlse
Lhe communlLy news operaLlon (such as edlLorlal work for Lhlrd parLles ln separaLe
publlcaLlons and dlglLal markeLlng).


=(4 231' 2()!- >( 1(223),"- )!45 5,"!5 *!)!8$"!9

1hose who dld ralse money were asked how much Lhelr slLes generaLed ln an average
monLh. As above, Lhe low number for whom Lhls was a relevanL quesLlon means LhaL
responses are beLLer expressed ln raw numbers.

I|gure U: In an average month, rough|y how much money wou|d you say your s|te
generated? (n=62)


MosL earn relaLlvely small sums, wlLh 23 maklng less Lhan £100 ln an average monLh and 13
earnlng beLween £100 and £300. A furLher 10 respondenLs generaLe beLween £301 and
£1000, and 14 earn Lhe more slgnlflcanL sum of over £1000 per monLh. Cverall, Lhen,
around half Lhe respondenLs Lo Lhls quesLlon, represenLlng around one slxLh of all
respondenLs, could poLenLlally be earnlng upwards of £6,000 per year.

60.7°
37
13.1°
8
11.3°
7
3.3°
2
1.6°
1
9.8°
6
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
Adveruslng My own money CranL fundlng volunLary
donauons
Sponsored
feaLures
CLher
37.1°
23
14.3°
9
9.7°
6
16.1°
10
14.3°
9 8.1°
3
0.0°
3.0°
10.0°
13.0°
20.0°
23.0°
30.0°
33.0°
40.0°
Less Lhan £100 £101-230 £231-300 £301-1000 £1001-2000 More Lhan
£2000 per
monLh
31

J( 1(223),"- )!45 @8(>31!85 "',)B "'!,8 5,"!5 $8! 535"$,)$?%!9

uesplLe Lhelr lack of lncome from hyperlocal slLes, mosL producers are confldenL Lhey can
susLaln Lhelr commlLmenL ln Lhe shorL Lerm.

Lncouraglngly, more Lhan half (33 per cenL) belleve Lhey can move beyond Lhe currenL level
of ouLpuL and lncrease lL, whlle over a Lhlrd (36°) are confldenL Lhey can malnLaln currenL
levels. Cnly one ln Len LhoughL LhaL currenL levels were unsusLalnable or LhaL - ln Lhe case
of [usL four respondenLs - Lhe slLe mlghL have Lo close down compleLely.

8easons for a predlcLed decllne or posslble closure conslsLed malnly of changlng personal
clrcumsLances or Lhe challenges of maklng enough money Lo remuneraLe Lhemselves
adequaLely for Lhelr Llme.

I|gure V: Do you be||eve you can susta|n your s|te at the current |eve| of output over the
next 6-12 months? (n=16S)


33.3°
88
33.8°
39
8.3°
14
2.4°
4
?es - l can susLaln and perhaps
lncrease lL
?es - l can susLaln lL aL Lhe currenL
level
no - Lhe currenL level wlll probably
decllne
no - Lhere ls a real posslblllLy LhaL
Lhe slLe wlll close.
32

Þersonal reasons lncluded: no longer havlng flnanclal supporL from an employed spouse,
movlng ouL of Lhe communlLy, and havlng a new [ob whlch resulLed ln ºless Llme and
enLhuslasm" for runnlng a hyperlocal news slLe. Lconomlc reasons lncluded: one
respondenL who felL Lhey were ºspendlng far Loo much Llme" on Lhelr blog, and who had seL
Lhemselves a deadllne of Lhree monLhs Lo flnd paylng adverLlsers, anoLher who sald LhaL
ºwe need Llme Lo creaLe a crlLlcal mass of vlslLors Lo aLLracL buslness sponsorshlp Lo susLaln
Lhe pro[ecL", and one who, havlng successfully grown Lhe slLe over Lhree and half years, sald
LhaL Lhey now ºsLruggle Lo sLay on Lop of lL" and were noL opLlmlsLlc abouL ralslng Lhe
requlslLe adverLlslng revenue Lo pay for Lhelr Lwo days a week on Lhe slLe (ºl'm noL a sales
person, and would raLher be developlng Lhe slLe edlLorlally"). AnoLher, ln slmllar
clrcumsLances, slmply clLed ºburnouL" before sLaLlng LhaL Lhey do noL have enough Llme and
LhaL revenue whlch would buy LhaL Llme was noL forLhcomlng.

Whlle Lhe plcLure ls Lherefore generally encouraglng, Lhese lasL few responses were a
remlnder of Lhe raLher precarlous naLure of many communlLy news slLes. Þrofesslonal and
personal clrcumsLances change, and Lhese changes wlll ofLen lmpacL Lhe Llme avallable for
communlLy news pro[ecLs. Moreover, Lhe Llme subsldles lnvolved ln produclng communlLy
news for free, ofLen by Lhose who are unemployed or worklng parL Llme, are noL lndeflnlLe,
and are also llable Lo change.

Cur flndlngs are a clear remlnder LhaL Lhe greaL ma[orlLy of communlLy news producers ln
Lhe uk are noL ln lL for Lhe money and mosL do noL even seek Lo generaLe revenues from
Lhelr slLes. Powever, Lhe lack of flnanclal securlLy has lmpllcaLlons for Lhe medlum- Lo long-
Lerm vlablllLy of Lhese nascenL onllne publlcaLlons and perhaps Lherefore for Lhe securlLy,
reach, and susLalnablllLy of hyperlocal news publlshlng as a whole.
: ;< K%!$5! !L@%$,) 4'- -(3 ?!%,!+! "'! 1()"!)" %!+!% 2$- >!1%,)!C
(8 "'! 5,"! 2$- !+!) '$+! "( 1%(5!9

ºl'm spendlng far Loo much Llme on lL, l'm abouL Lo Lry Lo geL adverLlsers, lf LhaL falls ln Lhe nexL
Lhree monLhs Lhen l'll need Lo cuL back on Lhe Llme spenL dramaLlcally"

º1he slLe has grown so much over Lhe Lhree and a half years lL's been golng, so much LhaL l
sLruggle Lo sLay on Lop of lL. l'm looklng Lo work Lwo days a week on Lhe slLe, pald for by
adverLlslng and oLher revenue, buL lL's dlfflculL Lo grow Lhe lncome - l'm noL a sales person and
would much raLher be developlng Lhe slLe edlLorlally. l'd llke Lo bld for granL fundlng buL l'm noL
sure where Lo sLarL..."

ºMy llfe clrcumsLances have changed and l have oLher commlLmenLs and l've sLruggled Lo flnd
volunLeers and/or board members who are wllllng Lo susLaln Lhe long-Lerm lnpuL requlred Lo run
[Lhe] blog"

º1he slLe's been runnlng down for Lhe pasL Lwo years, wlLh less and less people posLlng new
conLenL or even boLherlng Lo commenL any more"
33




key f|nd|ngs:

• MosL communlLy news producers work parL-Llme on Lhelr slLes (37 per cenL work up Lo
Len hours a week and 26 per cenL work beLween 11 and 30 hours). 8uL a mlnorlLy work
full-Llme, wlLh 11 per cenL puLLlng ln more Lhan 40 hours a week.
• Many communlLy news operaLlons are parLlclpaLory and collaboraLlve efforLs.
• lacLorlng ln Lhe work done by oLher Leam members, [usL over four slLes ln Len (43 per
cenL) are Lhe producL of relaLlvely few hours worked (Len hours or less per week). 1he
resL are more Llme-consumlng, wlLh a Lhlrd demandlng 21-30 worklng hours, and a
quarLer more Lhan 30.
• MosL communlLy news producers fund Lhe runnlng cosLs of Lhelr slLes from Lhelr own
pockeLs, buL around one ln four ralse enough money Lo cover Lhelr cosLs.
• AdverLlslng ls Lhe domlnanL form of lncome generaLlon, buL a number of oLher meLhods
are employed.
• Around a Lhlrd of our parLlclpanLs make money, mosLly qulLe modesL amounLs: 12 per
cenL say Lhey make less Lhan £100 per monLh, for lnsLance, buL 13 per cenL say Lhey
generaLe more Lhan £300 per monLh.
• uesplLe Lhe low proporLlon of economlcally successful communlLy news producers, nlne
ouL of Len sLlll belleve Lhey can susLaln, or lncrease, currenL levels of ouLpuL ln Lhe
comlng year.
• MosL producers are noL moLlvaLed by economlc galn, buL Lhe overall lack of revenues
belng generaLed could LhreaLen Lhe longer Lerm susLalnablllLy of hyperlocal publlshlng.
34
1he future of hyper|oca| news

ln order Lo beLLer undersLand Lhe fuLure plans and asplraLlons of uk communlLy news
producers we asked a serles of quesLlons around fuLure alms, asplraLlons, and challenges.


=(4 4(3%> '-@!8%(1$%5 %,B! "( !L@$)> !>,"(8,$%%-9

Lncouraglngly, Lhe greaL ma[orlLy sald Lhey wanLed Lo expand Lhelr slLes, suggesLlng LhaL
Lhere ls deflnlLely Lhe amblLlon, lf noL always Lhe means, Lo do so.

I|gure W: Wou|d you ||ke to expand the s|ze or scope of the s|te, e.g. by add|ng a greater
amount or var|ety than you current|y do? (n=168)


41.7°
70
37.3°
63
20.8°
33
?es, l would llke Lo expand a llule
?es, l would llke Lo expand a loL
no, l'm happy wlLh lLs currenL slze
and scope
: ;< A'$" B,)> (. 2$"!8,$% 4(3%> -(3 %,B! "( $>>9
ºlncreaslng Lhe geographlc range from one Lown Lo Lhree nelghbourlng Lowns"

ºMore varleLy of conLenL lncludlng vldeo and audlo. Also beLLer use of soclal medla by reporLers"

º8eLLer use of moblle, use of geo-Lagged conLenL, more comprehenslve news and evenLs
coverage, more feaLure conLenL"

ºl wanL Lo develop a moblle app and lnclude a loL more llsLlng lnformaLlon. l would also llke Lhe
Llme Lo do more 'wrlLlng' raLher Lhan lnformaLlon aggregaLlng"

ºMore '[ournallsLlc' sLorles, lnvesLlgaLlve, quesLlonlng pleces"

ºCampalgnlng, more ln-depLh reporLlng, especlally of local counclls' work"

ºMake conLenL even more local, allowlng readers Lo drlll down and flnd Lhelr own conLenL"
33

Around 8 ouL of 10 sald Lhey would llke Lo expand, dlvlded almosL equally beLween ºa loL"
and ºa llLLle". A flfLh were happy wlLh Lhe currenL slze and scope of Lhelr servlces. 1hose
who were lnLeresLed ln expanslon were asked an open-ended quesLlon abouL Lhe klnds of
conLenL Lhey would llke Lo add. We Lhen coded and caLegorlsed Lhelr wrlLLen responses.

8esponses varled beLween qulLe speclflc plans Lo lnLroduce conLenL ln cerLaln edlLorlal
areas, and more general plans Lo expand wlder-ranglng approaches Lo news provlslon.
1oplcs LhaL recurred qulLe ofLen were llsLlngs, lnformaLlon Lo keep people lnformed abouL
local evenLs, pleces of local hlsLorlcal lnLeresL, or feaLures whlch Lake a nosLalglc look aL
communlLles, and furLher coverage of communlLy groups, clubs, and socleLles (already a
sLaple dleL of much hyperlocal news).

lewer respondenLs clLed plans Lo expand Lhelr coverage of local lnsLlLuLlons (such as
counclls or courLs), Lo pursue lnvesLlgaLlons, or Lo cover local campalgns. 1he mosL
commonly clLed general plan was Lo posL more frequenL maLerlal, and Lo produce more
mulLlmedla conLenL (prlnclpally uslng vldeo and audlo), Lo encourage more submlsslons
from audlence members, and greaLer use of soclal medla.

I|gure k: What k|nd of content wou|d you ||ke to add? (coded from 114 qua||tat|ve
responses)




68($>!8 $5@,8$",()5 (. /0 1(223),"- )!45 @8(>31!85

8unnlng a communlLy news ouLleL lnvolves more Lhan produclng and dlsLrlbuLlng local
news: lL can, among oLher Lhlngs, also lnvolve Lechnlcal experLlse ln web deslgn and
malnLenance, sales and markeLlng, ellclLaLlon of maLerlal from audlence members or
occaslonal conLrlbuLors, and also ºmanaglng" and fosLerlng communlLles on soclal medla
(and someLlmes ln Lhe real world).
34
22
21
20
19
18
13
11
10 10 10
8
7 7
6
4
2 2
0
3
10
13
20
23
30
33
40
36

We Lherefore asked a dellberaLely broad quesLlon of all respondenLs Lo assess Lhelr
amblLlons ln an ldeal world, unhlndered by Llme or money consLralnLs. As above, Lhls was an
open-ended quesLlon for whlch (Lhe someLlmes qulLe deLalled) responses were
subsequenLly coded.


: ;< A'$" ,2@8(+!2!)"5 4(3%> -(3 ,>!$%%- %,B! "( 2$B!
"( -(38 5,"! $)> ,"5 (@!8$",() ,. 2()!- $)> ",2! 4!8! )( (?7!1"9

ºlnclude adverLs (aL Lhe momenL we [usL have llsLlngs) - bulld Lhem, adapL slLe Lo Lake Lhem,
dedlcaLed ad server, geL l1 experLlse lnpuL"

º8eLLer deslgn. More regular updaLes. An 'edlLorlal Leam'. CeLLlng more people lnvolved"

ºl would llke Lo lnvesLlgaLe sLorles ln more deLall and supporL Lhem wlLh quallLy phoLographs"

ºl would love Lo geL even more hyperlocal on Lhe slLe wlLh speclflc secLlons for speclflc blLs of Lhe
Lown. l'd love Lo geL volunLeers ln Lhese speclflc areas of Lhe Lown more lnvolved Loo"

º1wo way communlcaLlon raLher Lhan [usL news and evenLs"

ºlL needs a pald person Lo focus on conLenL, orlglnal communlLy reporLlng, recrulLlng volunLeers.
And revenue generaLlon"

ºCo ouL and geL sLorles raLher Lhan relylng on press releases. lL's more of a communlLy hub aL
Lhe momenL"

ºlL would be good Lo have an lnvesLlgaLlve reporLer Lo conLrlbuLe news sLorles Lo do lCl requesLs
and check facLs"

ºLmploy people lncludlng buslness developmenL and sales sLaff. Lmploy a developer Lo look aL
moblle plaLforms"

º8eLLer deslgn wlLhouL becomlng Loo sllck and loslng communlLy feel. Lxposlng huge conLenL
archlve more and ln general more Llme Lo go ouL and Lalk Lo people"

ºlf l won Lhe loLLery, l'd seL up a local weekly newspaper Lomorrow, uslng Lhe Camden new
!ournal as Lhe model, wlLh a spln-off webslLe. 8uL as for Lhe slLe, l'd slmply llke more Llme Lo
produce and lnvesLlgaLe sLorles"

ºWe're currenLly walLlng on conflrmaLlon we've offlclally become a CommunlLy lnLeresL
Company. We plan Lo grow our lncome Lhrough local adverLlslng and use Lhls money Lo fund a
local communlLy fund whlch we can lnvesL ln local communlLy pro[ecLs"

ºMore [ournallsLs, more sales sLaff, llnk Lhe prlnL verslon wlLh Lhe webslLe on a commerclal basls
- le. sell prlnL adverLs onllne and sell onllne adverLs onllne"
37


I|gure ¥: What |mprovements wou|d you |dea||y ||ke to make to your s|te and |ts
operat|on |f money and t|me were no ob[ect? (coded from 123 qua||tat|ve responses)



1echnlcal changes were by far Lhe mosL popular response. Clven Lhe Llme-senslLlve naLure
of news conLenL, rouLlne and one-off malnLenance Lasks are ofLen posLponed. 8esponses
under Lhls headlng lncluded changlng blogglng plaLforms, lncorporaLlng pluglns, maklng
blogs more moblle accesslble, and lmprovlng archlvlng sysLems.

Many respondenLs also wroLe of a wlsh Lo underLake more communlLy engagemenL
acLlvlLles, prlnclpally on soclal medla. Many were consclous of whaL was seen Lo be an
under-use of soclal medla plaLforms. Some dld noL use Lhem aL all, and saw lacebook and
1wlLLer as poLenLlally useful ln broadenlng Lhelr readershlp. CLhers were consclous of ºonly"
currenLly uslng soclal medla Lo dlsLrlbuLe Lhelr onllne conLenL, and wanLed Lo engage more
wlLh audlences onllne, as well as Lo make beLLer use of Lhose plaLforms for news sources
and research. A small mlnorlLy Lold us of plans Lo lnLroduce dlscusslon forums for Lhe local
communlLy on Lhelr slLes.

An equally hlgh number of respondenLs wroLe abouL Lhe need Lo lmprove Lhe promoLlonal
conLenL, such as adverLlslng or sponsored feaLures, on Lhelr slLes. Many Lalked abouL Lhe
need Lo generaLe revenues Lo pay for Lhelr own work, and some wroLe of plans Lo hlre an
adverLlslng salesperson worklng on commlsslon, Lhus reflecLlng a growlng lnLeresL among
some hyperlocal slLes ln generaLlng revenue. Clven Lhe pracLlcal dlfflculLles encounLered by
Lhose who have Lrled (as recounLed above), for many producers Lhls ls llkely Lo remaln llLLle
more Lhan an asplraLlon.

41
28 28
27
26
24
21
18
17
11
6
3
4 4
0
3
10
13
20
23
30
33
40
43
38
Some respondenLs sald Lhey would llke Lo encourage Lhelr users Lo submlL more maLerlal Lo
Lhe slLe, someLhlng whlch (llke Lechnlcal malnLenance work) can be Llme consumlng and ls
noL always prlorlLlsed. A slmllar number would llke Lo pay Lhelr conLrlbuLors.

8elaLlvely hlgh numbers wroLe abouL Lhelr wlsh Lo publlsh more news, Lo have more Llme Lo
spend on Lhe news conLenL Lhey already produce, and Lo make more mulLlmedla local news.
8eflecLlng a mlnor yeL growlng Lrend ln communlLy news, a slgnlflcanL mlnorlLy sald LhaL
Lhey would ldeally llke Lo produce prlnLed verslons of Lhelr slLes.


A'$" ,5 5"(@@,)* /0 '-@!8%(1$%5 .8(2 !L@$)>,)*9

We also wanLed some lnslghLs lnLo percelved obsLacles Lo expanslon.

I|gure 2.1: What do you fee| |s prevent|ng you from expand|ng your hyper|oca| s|te?
(n=127)



More Lhan Lwo Lhlrds of hyperlocal producers clLe lack of Llme as a slgnlflcanL consLralnL.
1hls ralses a fundamenLal economlc lssue. lf communlLy [ournallsLs were able Lo creaLe
more economlc value from Lhelr slLes and were compensaLed for Lhelr Llme, lL would
faclllLaLe slLe lmprovemenLs and (qulLe posslbly) expanded news conLenL.

nearly half clLe lack of volunLeers as a consLralnL, underllnlng Lhe unpald naLure of much
hyperlocal work, whlle four ouL of Len clLe lack of money. Some communlLy news operaLlons
are heavlly parLlclpaLory and collaboraLlve, buL seLLlng up and malnLalnlng a neLwork of
conLrlbuLors, as well as provldlng any necessary guldance or Lralnlng, ls Llme-consumlng and
dlfflculL.


71.7°
91
43.7°
38 40.2°
31
33.1°
42
28.3°
36
12.6°
16
9.4°
12
14.2°
18
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
80.0°
noL
enough of
my ume
avallable
noL
enough
volunLeers
need more
money
need more
sales
supporL
need more
Lechnlcal
experuse
need more
edlLorlal
experuse
need more
legal
knowledge
CLher
39


A Lhlrd of parLlclpanLs (33 per cenL) hlghllghL a slgnlflcanL emerglng problem, LhaL whlle
many producers have a good undersLandlng of produclng local news (only 13 per cenL sald
Lhey need more edlLorlal experLlse), Lhey usually have llLLle knowledge, experlence, or
enLhuslasm when lL comes Lo selllng adverLlslng. MalnsLream publlshers have LradlLlonally
had separaLe adverLlslng sales deparLmenLs employlng a sales Leam wlLh dlfferenL sklll seLs,
buL communlLy news producers who seek Lo make money lncreaslngly need Lo be able Lo
sell ads as well as Lell sLorles.

Around one ln Len menLlon a lack of legal knowledge. Cne of Lhe core componenLs of mosL
[ournallsm educaLlon ln Lhe uk lnvolves an undersLandlng of Lhe (ofLen complex) law around
reporLlng on-golng courL cases, defamaLlon, prlvacy, and reporLlng of mlnors. Some
hyperlocal news producers may be avoldlng reporLs on some areas of local llfe (noLably
courLs news) because of worrles abouL legal lssues. 1hls lack of knowledge could also have a
poLenLlally lnhlblLlve lmpacL on crlLlcal lnvesLlgaLlve reporLlng of Lhe klnd LhaL hold local
ellLes Lo accounL buL can be vulnerable Lo LhreaLs of llLlgaLlon by wealLhy or powerful
lndlvlduals.


A'$" 53@@(8" >( /0 1(223),"- )!45 5,"!5 )!!>9

llnally, havlng ldenLlfled Lhe challenges, we wanLed Lo flnd ouL whaL klnds of help and
supporL hyperlocal slLes would mosL appreclaLe.


: ;< A'$" >( -(3 .!!% ,5 @8!+!)",)* -(3 .8(2 !L@$)>,)* -(38
'-@!8%(1$% 5,"!9

ºLegal supporL Lo keep us clear of poLenLlal llbel would also be a comforL"

ºnoL enough freely-avallable daLa from local auLhorlLles"

ºneed local bodles, organlsaLlons & auLhorlLles Lo acknowledge/lnvlLe us Lo evenLs"

ºl could always do wlLh more Llme, volunLeers, Lechnlcal experLlse and sales supporL buL Lhese
are noL prevenLlng me from expandlng - raLher Lhe lack of Lhose Lhlngs ls slowlng Lhe speed aL
whlch Lhe slLe grows"
40
I|gure 2.2: What sort of support wou|d you take advantage of |f |t were ava||ab|e? (n=128)



noL surprlslngly, mosL of Lhe maln responses lnvolved varlaLlons on Lhe fundlng Lheme.
nearly Lwo Lhlrds (63 per cenL) say Lhey would llke help Lo fund Lhelr own Llme. As wlLh
many communlLy-based lnlLlaLlves of Lhls klnd, Lhere ls a Lenslon beLween Lhe volunLeer
basls of much of Lhls acLlvlLy and Lhe deslre Lo creaLe some economlc value ln order Lo
faclllLaLe more Llme. Powever Lhere are numerous slgns ln our daLa LhaL many communlLy
news [ournallsLs would llke Lo expand, and perhaps even professlonallse, Lhelr pro[ecLs, buL
LhaL Lhey are hampered by lack of Llme Lo do anyLhlng oLher Lhan keep Lhelr slLes updaLed.
Many seem Lo have a clear undersLandlng of whaL ls requlred for expanslon, wlLh well-
deflned plans, buL mosL lack Lhe Llme Lo lmplemenL Lhelr ldeas.


AparL from supporL for self-fundlng, half would llke help wlLh ad sales Lo ralse revenues, and
four ouL of Len would llke help Lo pay conLrlbuLors. ln mosL lnsLances conLrlbuLors and
collaboraLors are volunLeers, and producers see Lhemselves resoluLely as amaLeurs wlLh no
63.3°
81
60.9°
78
30.8°
63
42.2°
34
42.2°
34
32.0°
41
22.7°
29
0.0°
10.0°
20.0°
30.0°
40.0°
30.0°
60.0°
70.0°
: ;< A'$" 5(8" (. 53@@(8" 4(3%> -(3 "$B! $>+$)"$*! (. ,. ," 4!8!
$+$,%$?%!9

º1raln conLrlbuLors ln baslc [ournallsm and medla law"

ºAny help l could geL l would Lake. A communlLy blog needs all Lhe help and conLrlbuLors lL can
geL. 1he more help Lhe beLLer"

º1echnlcal operaLlon codlng eLc. ... buL also anclllary skllls relaLed Lo conLenL collecLlon and
curaLlon, e.g. dlglLal phoLography, edlLlng dlglLal vldeo eLc."
41
wlsh Lo make money from Lhese slLes. 8uL Lhe facL LhaL so many would llke Lo sLarL paylng
Lhelr volunLeers ls furLher lndlcaLlon of a growlng deslre Lo professlonallse Lhelr operaLlons.

8eyond Lhe fundlng lssue, vlslblllLy wlLhln communlLles also looms large. !usL as many
producers lack experLlse or experlence ln selllng adverLlsemenLs, many also flnd lL dlfflculL
Lo markeL and promoLe Lhelr slLes. 1hus, slx ln Len (61 per cenL) say Lhey would Lake
advanLage of markeLlng supporL lf was avallable.

Pelp wlLh Lechnology ls also a prlorlLy for four ouL of Len. 1hls ls undersLandable glven LhaL
Lhls generaLlon of communlLy news producers exlsLs prlmarlly onllne, and LhaL many (nearly
Lhree quarLers of our sample) have been ln exlsLence for more Lhan Lhree years. 1he pace of
Lechnologlcal change ls fasL, and many lack Lhe Llme requlred for overhaullng or updaLlng
Lhe Lechnology whlch enables Lhelr slLes.

AlmosL a Lhlrd of respondenLs sald Lhey would llke help formally reglsLerlng Lhelr slLes.
Whlle mosL hyperlocals ln Lhe uk are noL offlclally reglsLered or lncorporaLed ln any way,
many are, and Lhere are numerous opLlons open Lo Lhose who wlsh Lo place Lhelr slLes on a
more formal basls. Pyperlocal slLes have reglsLered as llmlLed companles, worker- or
communlLy-owned co-operaLlves, non-proflL communlLy lnLeresL companles, and charlLles.
Cur research suggesLs LhaL more would llke Lo do so lf relevanL supporL were avallable.

8elaLlve Lo oLher prlorlLles, supporL ln Lhe form of Lralnlng was noL hlgh on Lhe wlsh llsL, buL
one ln flve (22 per cenL) Lold us Lhey would appreclaLe lL. When Lhese 29 respondenLs were
asked Lo speclfy whaL klnd of Lralnlng, Lhe mosL popular was Lechnlcal Lralnlng such as
webslLe deslgn, advanced use of Lhe sofLware offered by WordÞress, and codlng wlLh
programmlng languages such as ÞyLhon. nexL came [ournallsLlc Lechnlques: a number of
respondenLs sald Lhey would llke Lralnlng ln baslc [ournallsm pracLlces such as lnLervlewlng
and researchlng sLorles, as well as mulLlmedla [ournallsLlc skllls such as shooLlng and edlLlng
vldeo and audlo.
42



key f|nd|ngs:

• LlghL ouL of Len respondenLs have amblLlons Lo expand Lhelr slLes.
• Many would llke Lo posL more frequenLly, use more mulLlmedla conLenL, and ellclL more
maLerlal from Lhelr audlences. MosL commonly clLed areas for expanslon were local
lnformaLlon and coverage of communlLy groups and evenLs.
• WlLhouL resLrlcLlons on Llme or money, Lhe maln LargeLs for slLe lmprovemenL were:
Lechnlcal webslLe lssues, engaglng wlLh audlences more on soclal medla, selllng ads and
generaLlng revenue, culLlvaLlng a larger communlLy of acLlve conLrlbuLors.
• MosL communlLy [ournallsLs feel very Llme poor, wlLh nearly Lhree quarLers clLlng lack of
Llme as a bar Lo fuLure expanslon.
• Slx ouL of Len say Lhey would llke help wlLh generaLlng revenues Lo fund Lhelr own Llme,
and wlLh markeLlng and promoLlng Lhelr slLe Lo drlve audlences up. Palf would llke help
wlLh selllng adverLlslng.
: ;< I)> .,)$%%-E $)- ("'!8 1(22!)"59

ºWe launched a prlnL publlcaLlon whlch complemenLs and supporLs our webslLe. 1hls appears Lo
be a slgnlflcanL Lrend ln hyperlocal and one whlch was noL explored ln Lhls survey. l would
suggesL Lhls mlghL be an lnLeresLlng area for furLher research ln Lhe fuLure"

ºl Lhlnk commerclal medla organlsaLlons whlch regularly plaglarlse or hoover up news/feaLures
generaLed by hyperlocals should aL leasL acknowledge and preferably pay Lhelr sources"

ºln my experlence 'hyperlocal slLes' have evolved lnLo 'hyperlocal neLworks'. A webslLe ls only
one parL. 1he blggesL challenge we have ls LhaL many wanL Lo conLrlbuLe buL when Lhey Lry Lhey
reallse LhaL wrlLlng publlshable copy ls someLhlng LhaL Lhey assume Lhey are capable of dolng
due Lo Lhelr level of educaLlon however Lhey are conslderably ouL of pracLlce"

ºCur slLe ls unusual ln LhaL lL's noL prlmarlly reporLlng-based - lL's a parLlclpaLlve slLe for Lhe
(exlsLlng) local communlLy. All conLenL ls submlLLed by local resldenLs, maklng us now arguably
Lhe maln source of news for Lhls (generally prosperous, well-educaLed) Lown"

ºPyperlocal slLes are replaclng rural newspapers - Lhey are valued, respecLed and consldered noL
only by readers buL by pollce, counclls, nPS, sporLs clubs and ma[or local organlsaLlons - on same
fooLlng as reglonal press"

º1he amounL of unpald Llme needed Lo run Lhe slLe ls Lhe blggesL challenge faced"