Members of public will run Glasgow websites

The Glasgow Evening Times network of community websites, launched this week, will eventually be run by trained members of the public.

Local contributors will be offered tip-off fees if their material is published in the paper and longer term contributors will also be offered training in writing and management.

The first 12 of 80 sites, which went live on Monday, cover ultra-local news while including listings for local schools, leisure centres, doctors and events.

Readers and bodies such as the police, local council and health board are being encouraged to upload material, and community groups are invited to create their own ‘mini-sites”.

The Newsquest title hopes to double Newsquest’s online audience in Glasgow, reaching the Evening Times, the Herald and the Sunday Herald by the end of the year.

In January, the Hull Daily Mail launched a community site written almost entirely by the public, while the Teesside Evening Gazette has launched a series of community websites, to which journalists contribute.

Assistant editor at the Evening Times Graeme Smith said: ‘There are parallels with Hull but it is different. There is a strong Evening Times brand attached to our site and the emphasis is to get people to take on these sites.

‘If we have a regular contributor then we would have them in the office with us and we would give them more ownership. The long-term aim is to transfer ownership of it to communities and we would decide which people were appropriate to hand that over to.

“In the long term we could give them training to take over the management of these sites as well.”

In January 2007, Trinity Mirror launched a group of free newspapers in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, after The Sun replaced The Daily Record as Scotland’s top-selling newspaper.

He added: ‘We felt we should do this because we wanted to own the Glasgow online audience before anyone else made a move. It’s not just the big players; we were conscious of Johnson Press; it has a lot of free and weekly papers around our patch.

‘Our USP is Glasgow, we are Glasgow’s paper whereas the Record looks at the national, Scottish perspective.”

The community sites can be found via the link on the paper’s main website www.eveningtimes.co.uk.

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