The project Value My News (VMN) has developed an innovative suite of tools enabling community and hyperlocal news publishers to make money from, and track the sale of, hyperlocal stories. This is a ground-breaking response to the issues of sustainability in the sector and even small changes in the revenue of independent publishers can be transformative. VMN will enable publishers to easily access, buy and republish high quality editorial content from community and hyperlocal news organisations across the UK. By surfacing the best and most important or trending 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. The project overall is built up through a series of technological iterations and additions around the platform architecture Ping!. These include Ping! Trends and Ping! Bounty. For the first time, it creates a one-stop portal of content being generated by hyperlocal and community media. The platform ingests stories and organises them in a basic story taxonomy of content theme (e.g. court, sport, politics). It reduces the amount of content used without appropriate permission and financial credit. It opens up the possibility of hyperlocal media to sell their content through syndication. Without this platform, any sales are ad hoc, time consuming and contribute very little to overall revenues, if at all.
Overall the research inquiry explores:
What is the value of hyperlocal content? How does the flow of content from hyperlocals to mainstream newsrooms work as a supply chain? What is the demand for independent and community news in the wider ecosystem? How can new revenue streams be created for hyperlocal news through collaborative approaches? How can we build a system to create new revenue streams for hyperlocals? What role can machine learning play in new data insights for the sector?
Centre for Community Journalism, University of Cardiff
Independent Community News Network
Omni Digital, Bristol
Funder: Google Digital News Initiative; Nesta Future News Fund