Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism (C4CJ) has secured ¤250,000 (approx. £223,000) of funding from the Google Digital News Innovation Fund to create new revenue streams for the community and hyperlocal news sector.
The project, Value My News (VMN), will develop an innovative suite of tools enabling community and hyperlocal news publishers to make money from, and track the sale of, hyperlocal stories, while at the same time copyright existing content.
This is a ground-breaking response to the issues of sustainability in the sector and the new forms of funding it provides will deliver a much-needed boost to small independent publishers across the UK.
In collaboration with the Media Innovation Studio (MIS) at the University of Central Lancashire, VMN will enable publishers to easily access, buy and republish high quality editorial content from community and hyperlocal news organisations across the UK.
News, produced at the grassroots level, has value further up the news food chain. By surfacing the best and most important stories, VMN will ensure that content producers receive a fair share of the revenue generated from their work.
VMN will transform the sector by capturing revenues otherwise leaking through the supply chain.
It will build sustainability by creating revenue streams and by maximising the skills and expertise of the talented and dedicated pool of journalists working in the sector.
The funding announcement comes less than a year after C4CJ launched the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) - the first representative body of its kind dedicated to supporting the interests of community and hyperlocal news publishers in the UK.
Director of ICNN and project lead Emma Meese said: “Creating a platform that will help community and hyperlocal news publishers earn more money for the work they already produce has been a dream of ours for a long time.
“Our mission is to create more jobs for journalists at a local level and to ensure the quality of grassroots journalism in the UK is the best it can be.
“I’m delighted to lead on this project as it has the potential to change the future of local news.
Principal Investigator for Value My News at MIS, Clare Cook, said: “I am inspired and excited in equal measure to work on a project that is both innovative and impactful. This is about better understanding the lived experiences of hyperlocals and bringing about real change in their revenue models.”
Work on the project will begin immediately.
In 2015, Google launched the DNI Fund, a ¤150m commitment open to publishers of all sizes in Europe to support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation. To date, the fund has reached ¤115m for innovation in news.