WHAT is being described as “the biggest network of community websites ever unveiled by a regional newspaper” is being launched today by Glasgow newspaper, the Evening Times.
Today, 12 of a target 80 community sites are being unveiled by the evening title, with each site providing highly local news, including school and GP surgery listings. It is hoped the 80 sites will be up and running by the end of the year.
The first dozen communities to begin benefiting from the launch are Cardonald, Dennistoun, Easterhouse, Gorbals, Hillhead, Maryhill, Partick, Robroyston, Shawlands, Springburn, Tollcross and Whiteinch. And local people are being encouraged to contribute, with their news and pictures.
Indeed, youth groups and other organisations are also being offered the opportunity to set up their own mini-sites.
All the sites will operate under the Evening Times brand but editor, Donald Martin, says they are for local communities to use.
The paper will also look to recruit local correspondents to help run the sites and will pay tip-off fees for items which make the paper.
Said Martin: “No newspaper in the UK has done anything like this in such wide-ranging detail. It’s a massive investment in community news, and we’re delighted to be involved with our readers both in print and now online.”
In a double-page spread in today’s paper, he’ll tell readers: “It can’t be stressed too often that these are your sites. Whatever is going on will be highlighted on your local site. We’re looking for videos to be uploaded of your local fun-run or youth group’s day out as well.
“What we want is for you to put your pictures or videos onto your community website, where people can see them.”
The local council, police and health board are also being encouraged to use the sites.
And even before the launch, a teacher at a local school, who had been contacted about the sites, tipped-off the Evening Times about a story which made the front page of the paper.
Said assistant editor, Graeme Smith: “It was a good story about a pupil who had gone up before a council committee to successfully argue against a burger van being allowed to pitch up near the school.
“I think it will only be a matter of time before we get a splash from a tip-off that’s come through one of our sites.”
Helen Smith, who sits on the paper’s newsdesk, will act as community news editor, moderating and sub-editing content.
To find a specific community site, the URLs will be of the format districtname.eveningtimes.co.uk, eg shawlands.eveningtimes.co.uk