We are developing a sustainable model for local news, addressing the shift in advertising since the dawn of the internet and building a new structure from the ground up that ties publications to the communities they serve.
Social Spider Community News currently publishes five local newspapers based on a social enterprise model. We are a not-for-profit organisation and our aim is to make independent local news that is accessible to everyone in our local communities.
The shift from print to primarily online advertising – and the decline of paid-for print newspapers – has created a massive problem for everyone in local news publishing.
The post-internet era has seen many corporate local newspapers focus on continuing to make as much profit as possible from local markets while reducing the amount and quality of local journalism they provide.
We start from the opposite position: our aim is to produce the best possible local news products with the resources available – and to increase those resources by attracting new readers and advertisers.
Social Spider Community News generates revenue from:
- Print advertising – this remains the single biggest source of revenue for our publications, and we are able to offer local advertisers the dual benefit of promoting their products and services, and supporting community-focused local news
- Online advertising – this is a slowly growing source of revenue however we need to balance the income that can be generated against the negative effect that intrusive advertising can have on readers’ experiences.
- Membership – we have over 500 local people donating regularly to support our publications
- Newsletters – these weekly updates are a route for advertisers to notify thousands of local people about upcoming events and offers
- Consultancy – we work with other independent local news publications in different parts of the UK to help them develop their business models
There is no single magic solution to the business model challenges facing local news but by producing publications which are rooted in and valued by local communities, we are developing a sustainable mix of income streams.
Our publications Waltham Forest Echo, Enfield Dispatch, Haringey Community Press, EC1 Echo and Barnet Post cover a wide area of north, east and central London.
We distribute 52,500 free copies to readers via local newsstands, community venues, and door-to-door – with a total estimated readership of over 150,000 people.
Reasons to advertise with us:
• We distribute more copies door-to-door than any other publications covering the areas where we publish
• We have the highest overall circulation in the areas where we publish
• We offer discounts for not-for-profits, charities, social enterprises and community groups
• We are dedicated to ethical advertising and select our advertisers based on our ethical advertising policy
• Your adverts stand out as we always have more editorial than advertising in each issue
• We are quick, efficient and friendly
• It is a great way to support trusted, sustainable, community-focused local news in your area
Increasing numbers of local news publications have set up paywalls or developed subscription models which mean readers have to pay to read some or all of their content.
As a social enterprise that publishes community newspapers, we don’t want to have a paywall. We think our community deserves and needs to know what is happening around them locally and we want everyone to be able to access local news for free. We are passionate about keeping local journalism alive, and covering local stories ignored by the corporate media.
We currently have over 500 local individuals and organisations who value our work making a regular contribution to help us to keep local journalism alive.