News Ideas: Ultra local journalism could save us all

I’ve seen the future of journalism: And it’s ultra local.

The September issue of Press Gazette is going to feature a special report on ultra-local news websites in the US which are actually providing a living wage for their journalist owners.

Baristanet in New Jersey is one local journalism success story. Another is West Seattle Blog – which provides a living for Patrick Sand and his wife Tracy Record.

Patrick tells me that 5,000 readers a day has been enough to sell a healthy amount of advertising- with crime and restaurant related stories among the site’s editorial staples.

I’ve also been speaking to Mark Potts, CEO of a new US company called Growthspur which aims to provide commercial back-up for fledgling ultra-local sites.

He reckons that a site serving a community of 50,000 people with 20,000 unique visitors a month should be able to make $100,000 a year – with practically zero start-up costs.

If you have an ultra-local journalism success story – please drop me a line: dominicp@pressgazette.co.uk.

If you are a recently-redundant journalist – it sounds like a no-brainer to me to have a go at launching a website in your community. It’s the future I tell you!

Mind you, I also thought the Sunday Times’ CD rom supplement The Month was the future when that was unveiled at a very nice lunch in the News International private dining room back in 2003. At least £10m later, NI discovered that they were wrong on that one and quietly dropped it.

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