A new ‘wire’ service which connects hyperlocal publishers to established news organisations has been launched.
The Independent Community News Network has launched a trial of Ping!, described as a news delivery service, working with hyperlocal publishers in Yorkshire and London, and regional publisher Reach.
Ping! aims to help hyperlocal journalists to monetise their original content by providing a free and easy-to-use platform.
It gives national and regional news media access to articles and media from ICNN members through the sale of licenses which can be bought to access all stories or just a particular topic, for example health, or a specific geography.
ICNN titles in London and Yorkshire are taking part in the month-long Beta trial in conjunction with the UK’s largest regional and national publisher, Reach.
The Beta trial is a knowledge exchange to establish workflows, receive feedback on the system and ascertain which type of articles prove the most popular for sale.
Project lead and Director of ICNN Emma Meese said: “Today feels like the dawn of a new era in local journalism. Our long-standing aim has been to engage with the industry to ensure all journalists are properly and fairly rewarded for their work. I am delighted that Ping! is offering a solution that benefits all parties.
“On the very first day of the Beta trial we saw the platform connect journalists with relevant, local, public interest news stories.”
Ping! is a collaboration between ICNN at Cardiff University, the University of Central Lancashire and Omni Digital with funding from the Google Digital News Initiative and Nesta.
Managing Director of Omni Digital Sam Hearn said: “Omni Digital is motivated by projects that have a positive impact on communities and wider society. Our goal with this platform is to ensure that it supports the hyperlocal news industry to become more resilient and creates a more balanced news ecology.
“We’re really excited to be working with a passionate team who are dedicated to delivering lasting change within the industry.”
Reach Chief Audience Officer David Higgerson said: “We’re always happy to look at innovative ways to bring more readers to local news, and to work with other news publishers on this common goal.
“As far back as 2009, we were working with hyperlocal sites in the Birmingham area, and across the country have developed many relationships since. We look forward to collaborating with Ping on this initiative.”
ICNN also plans to roll out several additional Ping! services during 2021, including the ability for national news providers to commission original work from ICNN members.
This piece first appeared on Behind Local News.