As local newspapers close and budget cuts put increasing pressure on remaining journalists, the hyperlocal journalism movement is stepping up to provide the services communities rely on. Nicola Slawson finds out more
For 126 years there had been a local newspaper in Fulham and Hammersmith. The first issue, which came out on 6 April 1888, featured a story about an accident involving a local boy who had been delivering milk on Dawes Road. In April 2014 the Hammersmith and Fulham Chronicle was closed, leaving 180,000 people without a local newspaper.
Some, including the local council, were shocked when owners Trinity Mirror announced their decision. But some 242 local newspapers were closed between 2007 and 2011, according to the Press Gazette. More newspapers are being added to this figure each year. And it’s not just closures that are causing waves in local journalism; budget cuts and redundancies are putting increased pressure on remaining staff.
It’s in this environment that a new sector is fast emerging. Known as ‘hyperlocal’, or community journalism, thousands of websites have been set up across the UK serving local communities.