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Former local journalist in new online venture

A hyperlocal website founded by a former regional press journalist has unveiled a new look.

Former Thurrock Gazette journalist Michael Casey founded last year together with two colleagues who also had experience in the media industry.

Content for the site is also supplied by an army of citizen journalists while most news stories are also accompanied by YouTube videos.

Now it has undergone a redesign and the revamped version, designed to look “more professional” and be easier to navigate, went live yesterday.

The new site features new sections for faith and diversity, health and wellbeing, enterprise and local heroes as well as news, sport and communities.

In addition it offers the functionality to enable every organisation in Thurrock district to establish its own page.

Michael set up the site after leaving the Thurrock Gazette, saying he was frustrated that more than 30pc of the news content related to crime.

He said at the time: “With diminishing sales, I felt papers needed to have a Darwinian moment and look at the way they present the news.”


Green Hack (21/04/2009 18:29:45)
Congratulations to Michael and his colleagues for launching the website. What we do not know is if the venture is managing to make any money and pay these three journalists mortgages.

Neil Speight (22/04/2009 00:11:07)
Best wishes to Michael and I hope his venture is a success but he does himself no favours by badmouthing the Gazette in this report, particlarly as he isn’t telling the truth. Michael set up his site after leaving the Essex Enquirer, not the Gazette and both the Enquirer and Gazette are free distribution papers (though the Gazette’s paid-for sale has risen by an impressive 75% over the last 18 months of my time there to further compound his false assertion).
It is certainly not true that 30 per cent of the Gazette’s coverage was crime-related, he’s talking nonsense there. The Gazette, under my editorship throughout Michael’s time there and for a year afterwards, was very much community focused and indeed the paper was commended for its sensitive reporting on key local issues in the recent EDF East of England awards, praised as a real community newspaper that dug out issues behind the news.
I subsequently left the Gazette myself (ironically to take over at the independent Enquirer), as I had had enough of Newsquest’s corporate greed and indecisive, negative management, but please Michael, don’t bite the hand that nurtered and fed you for a quite a while. Concentrate on the good and the opportunity you have bravely created for yourself rather than slate the opposition. The team we both left behind at the Gazette deserve better than that!