Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford has suggested that: “While the picture for UK regional newspapers remains a challenging one, there are growing signs that the longed-for ground-up renaissance of local journalism may be on its way.”
He says the franchise model of ultra local news websites created by journalist David Prior. He launched Altrincham Today in August 2014 http://altrincham.today/ and has turned it into a successful business with 83,000 unique visitors and 400,000 page views per month. Stories have been picked up by national media, including BBC news.
The site’s stated aim is to be the ‘leading news hub for the local issues that really matter to the people of Altrincham.’ Around 80% of visitors access the site on a mobile device which makes its money from paid-for advertisements, columns and sponsored content. The model is mobile first and news led.
Another site West Kirby Today, launched by journalists Mark Thomas and Emma Gunby, is based on the same model. West Kirby is no longer covered by existing media, leaving room for an ultra local website. http://westkirby.today/
If you fancy having a go at running a local news website business yourself, David Prior is offering his own franchise model. More details here http://hyperlocaltoday.co.uk/