Some thoughts on
Hyperlocal Funding and Sustainability
Damian Radcliffe, 5th February 2014
Image via:http: //bit.ly/1eughoI
Funding – and sustainability - is perhaps
hyperlocal media’s biggest challenge.
Here are some thoughts for you to
consider, if you haven’t already…
There is no “one size fits all” solution
Most sites need to have multiple income streams to survive.
This also enables you to spread your risks i.e. if one source
falls by the wayside, always have other income streams.
In other words…
Don’t have all of your
eggs in one basket…
Examples of income sources
• Online Advertising
• Printed What’s On Guide (SE1)
• Printed Newspaper (Brixton Bugle)
• Social Media Services (Oakland Local)
• Copywriting (Caerphilly Observer)
And a few more….
• eBooks (Londonist)
• Property supplement (HU17.net)
• Weekly newsletter (ChiswickW4.com)
• Groupon and local deals (Caerphilly Observer)
• Web hosting and Tech support (Mon TV)
Examples of some who’ve done it.
Well worth a look.
Some ideas from old media
- may also be worth a look…
Examples of income sources
• Franchising (DMGT, Localpeople)
• Advertising Partnerships (DMG and Trinity Mirror)
• Daily Deals and Vouchers (Johnston, STV)
• Property (Rightmove)
• Paywalls (Esp. in North America)
Sustaining the momentum
This is an important consideration, as inevitably your
interest – and energy levels will wane at some point.
Involve your community
You may find people with different skills and interests.
Your work does not need to grind to a halt because
you go on holiday, or you’re sick. But it often does.
Not just behind the scenes…
… but potentially in content creation
And don’t forget:
Feedback, identifying –
and potentially even
paying for stories.
Know your limits
Some sites also get funding – in the
form of grants or advertising from
local councils and other public bodies.
But some sites feel this may impact on
their editorial integrity and the ability
to fairly criticise these bodies.
Not everyone holds this view, but you
need to think about where you stand
and if these sources are for you.
Always have an exit strategy
Some great sites have continued when their founders
have moved on.
But others have been mothballed
Which seems a shame after all
that effort was put in.
So that’s ok…
“Remember that you are not just a journalist any longer.
You’re a marketer, publisher and business leader.
Above all, stay focused, but be ready to change on a dime.
As a local news entrepreneur, you will need to evolve and evolve.
Make the surprises work for you.”
Jan Schaffer, Ten Steps For Any News Startup
More at: www.slideshare.net/mrdamian
About Me: @damianradcliffe
Damian Radcliffe is a Doctoral Student and an Honorary Research Fellow at
Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
He has written about hyperlocal media for a number of organisations and
media outlets including: Ofcom, the BBC College of Journalism, Networked
Neighbourhoods, journalism.co.uk and the Democratic Society.
In 2012 NESTA published his landscape report - “Here and Now” – the first
comprehensive review of the UK’s hyperlocal scene.
Links to Damian’s extensive hyperlocal writing and
research can be found via his portfolio website: