The UK's successful independent ultra-local news websites

After my posting about the success of ultra-local news websites in the US I’ve been pleasantly suprised to hear reports of some similarly successful ventures in the UK.

I’ll be including full details in an in-depth feature appearing in the September edition of Press Gazette.

Included in it will be a fantastic community website called London SE1 run by James Hatts and his dad Leigh (who also edits a free what’s-on mag for the area).

It attracts impressive traffic figures of around 150,000 unique users a month and earns enough money to supports James’ full-time wages through a combination of Google ads and commissions from hotel and restaurant bookings.

James told me he prides himself on the site’s coverage of local politics and that he is often the only jourrnalist covering important council meetings.

I’ve also been speaking to Neighbournet, which runs a series of ultra local websites around London. They pay a number of journalists on a revenue-share basis and have one full-time editor, on their flagship site ChiswickW4.

These new sites may be replacing pennies for pounds compared with local newspaper businesses. But they are encouraging signs that a new model could be emerging of journalist-run and owned local media.

There will be more about all of this in the September edition of the mag.

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