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Community correspondents to share ad revenues

A new crop of community correspondents will be able to enjoy the financial fruits of their labour under plans drawn up by a North West publisher.

The CN Group, which has been running hyperlocal news sites for its Cumbrian patches since last summer, is now recruiting a dedicated correspondent for each one.

But rather than just submitting the latest parish pump news, the correspondents will also enjoy a share in any advertising revenues they generate.

Advertising slots on the 19 hyperlocal sites will be sold for a minimum of six months and any that are directly secured by a correspondent, will see them net 25pc of the revenue.

It is believed to be the first revenue-sharing scheme of its kind operating on any site run by a UK local newspaper publisher.

Nick Turner, the CN Group’s head of digital content development, told HTFP: “It’s a new twist in this hyperlocal area that all newspapers are dabbling in.

“It’s not a get-rich quick scheme but would give them a bit of money in their pocket. If someone did well it could get them around £80 to £100 a month.”

Community correspondents will gain their own login and password to the hyperlocal websites, such as Brampton Local, where they can add news content remotely from around their town or village.

Newspaper staff will be tasked with post-moderating online content as well as looking out for bigger stories with follow-up potential.

Whereas CN’s current hyperlocal websites carry news from print editions such as the Cumberland News and North West Evening Mail, the new correspondents’ content will sit alongside that of the regular reporters based on its news value.

CN Group staff have already held some meet and greet recruitment sessions to speak to people about becoming correspondents and the company has teamed up with the University of Cumbria to offer training.

Nick added: “These are not meant to be replacing journalism but increase visibility of our sites in these areas.

“We had an event in Barrow for the Evening Mail and are now in the middle of a recruitment process. Adverts have been placed and we’re getting a lot of interest from people.

“One of the sites covers part of Whitehaven which is one of the UK’s most deprived areas so we’re looking at a model there involving some public funding.”


Glad to be out (14/05/2009 07:35:56)
So at best that’s an annual revenue of £4,000 per year for each local site. 19 sites will give total annual revenue of £68,400 (after the community correspondents have been paid). Then deduct hosting costs, design, equipment, management, accounts, admin etc. to get to a profit of how much? – £30,000 (£1,580 per site)perhaps? These initiatives may make good PR but they will never be businesses!

Anon (14/05/2009 11:18:36)
This sounds similar to the Northcliffe scheme in the West Country. There, they are advertising for “community publishers” for a salary of £750 per month. If you add that kind of outspend into your figures, Glad to be out, it would appear they are budgeting for a substantial loss, as it appears ad revenue isn’t expected to come anywhere near the wage costs, let alone all the other costs. But maybe CN Group isn’t going to pay their “community correspondents” for the work they’ll be doing.

scooped (14/05/2009 12:16:41)
Do you think reporters will now also take a BMD form with them when they do death knocks and get the family to pay for an announcement there and then?

hilary (14/05/2009 12:18:39)
As I recall, they used to pay their old district correspondents a (very low) lineage rate. If they’re being used on a news value basis they won’t be able to get away with overwritten Over 60s whist drive reports, so the outlay will be much less than £750 a month! (Sorry, Mary and Olga)

richard meredith (14/05/2009 19:09:13)
Definitely not a good idea – tho hardly suprising to find journos now being asked to sell ads as part of the multi-skilling mega-mix. What happens when the correspondent finds that the advertiser whose revenue has been giving him a living has a story he/she wants to keep off the website. Answer: Nasty conflict of interest. (‘tho for any good journalist there would be only one result – tell the story and take a pay cut!). C’mon CN Group, surely you can do better than this half-baked nonsense.