Posted by & filed under AOP Microlocal Forum.

These are ‘as live’ notes from the second part of the Association Of Online Publishers (AOP) Microlocal Media Forum which took place on 9th December. At the very bottom of this post there is also a recording which caught all of Roger Green’s presentation and most of the panel discussion.

Click here for AOP’s own round up of the event or here for Paid Content’s article.

AOP Microlocal Media Forum Part 2
Presentation: Roger Green Newsquest

Speaking for himself not necessarily Newsquest (NQ)
Current media model more robust than given credit for – lots of things tried over the last few years
Nevertheless NQ now compete with zero cost players

NQ cover 150 sites who have alligence with local
Use media brands they have run through central system at local level: enablers for local people
Engaging with audience they have grown consistently
Amount of time people spend interacting
Websites but also telephone calls and texting
Westmorland Gazette: huge growth in audience significant spike when news event kicks off – ie. recent flood coverage

Big challenge= less dictating and more collaborative process
Very hard to motivate community correspondence – fill newsgathering and information gaps – channel needs to be worked hard. In Bingley, Betty Newell is the local contact works information

Involving people in more of the stories that matter, Basildon Echo (Basildon Uni Hospital story) 15 significant comments added to the story by the time it wound down 60 comments which moved narrative on
Compared to BBC local story couple of interviews were getting recycled so didn’t really engage with evolving story
NHS project attempting to bring together information – but only a few comments since 2007

Can do local without news – very brave according to RG
Almost all of it catefully integrated – geocoded – doing more than is appreciated
Newpapers to local regional media brands

Adoption of Twitter – Cover It Live
Watford Observer: @Observer_Owl
Turfed out of office and worked remotely routinely work out of cafes: cafes approve good cache from it
Get more local stories out of it
Won’t claim every editorial group as equally adept at taking on these tools
Lancashire used Twitter anti-terrorist movement via Twitter
Brighton: Jo Wadsworth leading field in terms of followers to following therefore she listens as well as talks

Tactics for Publishers
Adopt tools and use effectively
Make up own mind but don’t be disco dad: nothing that is zero cost can be sustainable – make up mind on what matters ignore everything else
Geocoding not always necessary, must be relevant to story
Observe decent analytics
Be commercial – not just about journalism even not a lot, publishing, distribution and sales
Be prepared to partner- Bloggers can be ‘upset by partner arrangements’ especially if on terms of the partner – partnerships need to behave in humble fashion
Not sustainable don’t bother: no point in a shiny local website launched by a publisher around one news event. Hardly any coverage of major news events, even worse covered better in Wall St Journal
If already have some great local media brands then maybe not worth launching at all

Two way conversation – but no-one found a decent way of monetizing e-mail
Based around popular social networks: Scope to get more out of community correspondence – open to talk to anyone ’we can help monetize that type of publishing’

Roger Green ‘Look forward to partnering or taking you on’

Q&A Discussion

David Higgerson: Trinity Mirror
James Thornett : BBC Local
Lori Cunningham Johnston Press
Roger Green: Newsquest
Paul Bradshaw: BCU Lecturer Help Me investigate

What new skills need in micro local:
LC: Curration and oversight and a two way dialogue to bring forward
JT: Curration much more aware of market out there, awareness of local personalities – less about the brand and the company more about the people themselves
DH: Much more aware of impact of what they say and way say it. Journalists more open minded about the way to tell the story
PB: Social capital – contributing to their community being a participant. Understand distribution networks. Distribution part of journo’s role
RG: Can’t really add. Listening very important skill and distribution – related links to things

Struck idea of platform how people produce outside whether it’s a priority. Predicated on whether there is a destination but the assumption people won’t go to specific site…

RG: look for places to pick up content as feeds. Most people who use sites are regular users

LC: not one approach – it’s an evolving landscape, people are arriving through different manner. More consistent loyal users. As an experiment we’ve put 3 titles behind pay wall. Understand what dynamics are, quickest way to measure dynamic is to try it out.

Whether panel do pay to get information

LC: Wall St Journal
JT: No
PB: Bearded Magazine
RG: worth looking into Telegraph used to subscribe to Wall St Journal then Murdoch said would be free so never renewed.

Partnerships: are you going to pay for information from other sources
RG: Almost other way round with bigger companies in NQ experience. We do pay for information.
DH: Case by case basis.
LC: Fragmented network partnership which works with person.

What assurances do you have that BBC not threatening competition for local publishers?

JT: BBC local broadcasting as the state funded broadcaster are funded to deliver what the UK want. UK popular website, whole ecosystem would work together. BBC do have a sizeable audience in terms of traffic. We are in the same space, find a way to make ecosystem work.

Whether BBC are against pay wall?
LC: We have a viable parntership with BBC. But we see them as a threat. Well funded organisation coming into an area or two guys in a garage. There’s no easy path forwards.
RG: Wouldn’t add to that. Except to observe if not for BBC we’d all be working for Google.
PB: BBC if pulled out of local would be accused as ’London centric’ Needs to justify licence fee. Would like to BBC adding in certain areas. Similar to what PA doing.
DH: Would like to see BBC come good and link back to content.
JT: BBC local are county level publishing – not local on the internet. Works well for us.

Chris PA: Can you monetize atomised news?

PB: No don’t think you can. Have to look what people use news for. Distribution channels are quite high, difficult to make money no point buying in atomised news. Can’t charge for stickers in playground.
JT: BBC will look at buying picture or video.
DH: Could do better at following up people who lift content word for word. Sunday Mercury does need to chase. Maybe go after the sites that take that copy.

What about people who have blogs who don’t want to be citizen journalists still worth partnerships?
DH: Could work more closely with local sites. Exploring partnerships and what can give back. Perception that newspaper websites are nicking content from hyper local or papers considering sites are run by ‘sid nutters’ – Will Perrin.

Local versus location – is there a difference in definition?

PB: Yes. Legacy issues of local publishing. Online 3rd of audience is from outside area or people who used to live in the area. Opportunity to capitalise on that. Newspapers haven’t done a lot around monetizing ’location’.
LC: Of great interest. Looking to evolve something along these lines. Make sure syndicated commercial opportunities. Our publishing experience used to defined by geography not the case online. Bring those people together across boundaries.
JT: Trap not to fall into, unique set of location interests and personal interests spread across the country. The next step is personalisation of a set of content through mobile devices and small laptops disseminating news specific to location.

Advertising revenue stream, how demonstrate to advertisers money is well spent?
LC: Process of rolling out idea. How getting people to engage with sites how people coming to us. Thinking traditionally – build up local database not had before.
DH: Area need to explore more. Lot of advertising know going to business community. Northumberland- long ago trailing Addiply coming back time and time again. Now seeing more good than bad examples.
RG: The advertising we do carry is pretty accountable enough. Methods of selling if we were to sell for micro local.


You can right click ‘save target’ for the MP3 here or you can listen to it below.


Part one can be found here.