The Centre for Community Journalism (C4CJ at Cardiff University, the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire, and Omni Digital are collaborating to create a platform that gives hyperlocal journalists fair access to revenues. The project is called Value My News (VMN).
Hyperlocal journalism focuses on delivering news from a small, defined area, giving a voice to a local community. Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture has been central in supporting hyperlocal journalists through their Centre for Community Journalism (C4CJ) and the Independent Community News Network (ICNN). A key challenge identified is how hyperlocal journalism is often used by regional newsrooms without being appropriately credited, attributed or reimbursed.
Software as a Solution
In collaboration with the Value My News (VMN) team, a technical proposal was developed. This successfully secured a six-figure sum from the Google Digital News Innovation Fund to develop, promote and manage the platform. Google DNI is a European-wide fund that is geared towards supporting innovation journalism and the media.
The project aims to help create a more sustainable culture around hyperlocal journalism.
Through software development Omni created VMN’s first application, Ping!, a centralised location where journalists can upload content via a plugin and a one-stop-shop platform for news desks nationwide to easily and quickly access local news stories. It supports the generation of new revenue for hyperlocal journalists throughout the UK, and reduces the amount of content being used without permission.
Hyperlocal journalists can upload content to the platform. Journalists are often up against tight deadlines and may be working remotely; PING! is secure, simple to use, and provides full functionality on a variety of viewport sizes, offering a high speed of content delivery and flexibility.
Larger newsrooms or buyers can look for and purchase content that they may want to publish to a wider audience. To ensure the surfacing of the most relevant news within the app for the newsroom users, content is categorised by subject, providing easy and efficient sourcing of news. With two tailored user-interfaces Ping! serves both audiences effectively.
Data is being gathered from the software to help shape future iterations of the software, making it a sustainable, adaptable design that can evolve alongside the industry and continue to deliver value.
Ping! is designed to be used by journalists and newsrooms on a daily basis. There are keyboard shortcuts, no distracting animations, and colour is used to show users where they are able to interact with an element in the user interface, creating an intuitive user experience.
“Omni is demonstrating how software can be used to help solve societal problems and how it can have a positive impact reaching beyond the local community.“
Clare Cook, Media Innovation Studio, Principal Investigator at Value My News
Ping! enables content to be copyrighted and the sale of content to be tracked, providing transparency over authorship and reducing the risk of copyright breaches.
The aim of the project is to disrupt the current mainstream industry marketplace by giving smaller journalists scale while preserving independence in an industry dominated by large news outlets.