Social Spider Community News works with outside organisations to help grow our publications and develop our sustainable model of local news, as well as working with other not-for-profit publishers to share our expertise.
Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS)
The BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) was launched in 2018 to help fill a gap in the reporting of local democracy issues across the UK. The journalists – Local Democracy Reporters – are funded by the BBC, but employed by regional news organisations.
The purpose of LDRS is to provide impartial coverage of the regular business and workings of local authorities in the UK, and other relevant democratic institutions. The brief of LDRS reporters is to report on the decision-making process; what decisions are made in the public’s name, how they are arrived at, and what evidence is presented to the council.
In March 2021, Social Spider Community News successfully tendered for the contracts to host for two areas we operate in: Barnet, Enfield and Haringey and Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Havering. These contracts are predominantly held by large corporate publishers and Social Spider Community News is one of only 18 companies to hold one.
Independent Community News Network
Our publications are all part of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) the membership body for 122 independent local news publications, hosted by Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism.
ICNN exists to support a diverse sector, promoting quality journalism and ensuring that smaller news publishers across the UK have a collective voice.
The ICNN charter states that its mission “is to promote quality journalism, help address the democratic deficit in news-poor communities, and help create more jobs in journalism”.
It does this by lobbying policy makers, regulatory bodies, and philanthropic funders, among others. It also brokers collaborations with industry partners, to contribute to development within the sector.
NCTJ Community News Project
In February 2022, Social Spider Community News received funding as part of the NCTJ Community News Project, supported by Meta, to employ a community reporter for Tottenham.
We are one of 23-partner publishers for the scheme, which was set up to support quality local journalism and improve newsroom diversity. The reporters employed through the scheme receive NCTJ training as part of their role.
Olivia Opara joined Haringey Community Press as community reporter for Tottenham in May 2022.
Public Interest News Foundation
In January 2022, Social Spider Community News received funding as part of the Public Interest News Foundation’s Impact Fund.
The aim of the fund was to explore the impact of local journalism on democratic engagement in the run-up to the 2022 local council elections.
The funding enabled our publication, Enfield Dispatch, to provide in-depth coverage of the contest in the Edmonton Green ward of the London Borough of Enfield with focused reporting and a hustings-style event for local candidates alongside surveys of local residents.
West Leeds Dispatch
In the first half of 2022, Social Spider Community News has been working with a fellow ICNN-member publisher, West Leeds Dispatch, to support the development of an advertising sales model.
Our advertising sales team has worked with staff and board members at West Leeds Dispatch to help them to refine their offer to local advertisers and supporters, set-up sales systems and to begin to approach potential customers.
The Social Spider Community News team has been working with the volunteer-led team at Newham Voices to support them in developing a sustainable model for the newspaper.
This has included setting up an advertising sales system and currently involves carrying out the advertising sales function for the newspaper – while working alongside the Newham Voices team on wider business development.
Between September 2021 and March 2022, Social Spider Community News worked with Thames Ward Community Project (TWCP) and Barking Riverside Ltd to support the development of resident-led community newspaper for the Barking Riverside area.
Our team worked with staff at TWCP and a resident editorial board to produce two issues of the newspaper, while delivering training to enable the group to continue to produce a quarterly publication on an ongoing basis.
Social Spider Community News works with Clerkenwell community charity, The Peel to publish bi-monthly newspaper, EC1 Echo.
The newspaper, edited by journalist and local resident Oliver Bennett, was launched in 2019 and initially supported as part of The Peel’s Connecting Clerkenwell programme.
The Peel continues to support the development of the newspaper alongside members and local advertisers.