Megan Lucero (L) and David Floyd (R)
Ali went on to study journalism in Cardiff and then worked as a local reporter in Swansea, showcasing stories from the communities she had previously seen misrepresented. “When you’ve been marginalised and ignored by the mainstream media for so long [and then] see yourself being reflected and heard, it gives you a sense of validation,” she says.
“Knowing that those journalists come from their own communities gives people a sense of hope that they will feel not only heard, but respected, and their stories will be told with a sense of clarity and sensitivity,” Ali says.
EYST is currently in the product design stage of creating its newsroom, supported by Clwstwr and The People’s Newsroom. Ali says that the end product doesn’t have to be a traditional newspaper, it could be a newsletter or WhatsApp service. What’s important is that people “feel that they can trust that their stories will be told with sincerity, authenticity and that they’ll be respected.”
‘A Useful Contribution To The Landscape Of Resources’
And what of those organisations that have already established themselves as local or community newsrooms? David Floyd is the managing director and co-founder of Social Spider. They’ve been doing local news in North East and Central London since 2014, although Social Spider itself has existed for 18 years.
“We started our first local newspaper, Waltham Forest Echo, in 2014 and we’ve been developing that model for local news over the period since then,” Floyd says. They now have five publications and employ 16 people in total. Around 70 to 80 percent of each newspaper’s income comes from print advertising and the rest is split between newsletter advertising and memberships.
Floyd is optimistic about the initiative and tells me that it would have been welcomed when he was first getting into community news. “I think it’s a useful contribution to that landscape of resources that’s out there [and] they’re looking to draw in new organisations to broaden that sort of ecosystem of local news and I think that can only be a positive thing.”