And it's hello from County Durham

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And it's hello from County Durham

Postby » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:01 am

Hello all,

I'm Archie and I'm co-editor of three hyperlocals under the umbrella of Community Newspaper Support CIC.
They are the Shildon & District Town Crier, Ferryhill & Chilton Chapter and Bishop Press.
I've taken the C4CJ Community Journalism MOOC at Futurelearn, which I Highly recommend to anyone here who hasn't.
Previously I was editor of the community newspaper of the Southern Isles of the Outer Hebrides, Am Paipear, and introduced a number of innovations there, including moving to newsprint and developing its social media platforms. The awards poured in (ish).
Back here in County Durham we're entirely funded by advertising and just about manage to wash our face each week.
We publish three free local papers, 6,000, 8,000 and 9,000 print runs respectively, delivered to every home in their respective towns and supported by their websites and social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook).
The online offering isn't great right now - just a snapshot of the papers, but the websites do host almost the entire back catalogue of each paper in PDF going back about 10 years.
Our social media gets updated when we have time or remember to, so not ideal.
We have two part-time (us co-editors) and one full-time staff (sales/director) and one volunteer - 83-year-old Les, who must surely be one of the country's oldest paper boys.
Of course, it's nothing like enough staff (who said 48-hour days? That's not enough either!) and in many ways we are a bit stuck in a rut and are currently looking at dragging ourselves into the 21st century.
We've just received a little bit of funding to help us develop our website offering and I have big plans that will instantly swallow that tiny budget. Then the long and wageless hours of development can get under way. (When I say we, of course I mean I'm the only person with any IT experience.)
My idea is to merge our three sites into one and to start working the opposite way to how we currently work: i.e. We begin online and filter down into the papers.
This has the advantage (I've convinced myself) of our online offering becoming much more dynamic. We can update daily and simply (did I just say simply out loud?) drop the relevant local stories into the papers as we go. As a set of two weekly and one fortnightly paper, as you will all undoubtedly have experienced, we constantly suffer from missing the breaking stories that invariably come about an hour after we've gone to press.
We hope also to be able to provide longer form journalism, from opinion pieces to investigative stories. I love the citizen journalism idea and want to develop that, including the multimedia opportunities it opens up.
I'm about to get this website project underway and would welcome any input from some of the folk out there who, as far as I can see from the introductions so far, are running some fantastic websites.
As I'm a Wordpress guy too - I've built a few sites already, so I'm not a newbie but neither am I too old to learn - I'm pleased to note that it seems to be the most popular platform, so any advice will be most gratefully received.
if you've got this far, thanks for reading.

Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: And it's hello from County Durham

Postby MattAbbott » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:15 am

Hi Archie,
Thanks or the introduction, and welcome to the forum.
Thew work you're doing sounds really exciting. As a tabloid journo in a previous life, I love the story about Les, your 83yo paperboy. Could easily see that in a national.
We'd love it if you kept us abreast of your development and progress.

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