A crowdfunder to kick-start a new not-for-profit newspaper for the city has almost reached its target, to the delight of the De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduates behind the venture.
Reece Stafferton and Emma Guy want to launch a new kind of newspaper for Leicester which they say will become a campaigning voice for the city.
Reece and Emma during a podcast promoting the Great Central Gazette
They say their ambition for the Great Central Gazette is to hold power to account, work with the community to fix big issues and partner with local groups to present media literacy workshops for anyone hoping to learn new skills.
It will be run as a co-operative, a type of model where members get to vote on how the business is run, by the people for the people.
The three grads set a crowd-funder target of £2,500 to help initially publish the newspaper online in the spring of 2023, and have reached 85 per cent of their target - £2,109 – in just over three weeks. The team also plan to publish a print edition at a later date.
Comments left on the crowdfunder page have been hugely supportive of Reece and Emma’s plans.
One donor said: “It is essential we support independent and alternative sources of news and information for Leicester. If there is anything we can do to help get the Gazette up and running, we are happy to contribute.”
Another wrote: “Pleased to be able to support independent media at a time it is needed, rooted in the community, put together by great people with a passion to make a difference - and a co-op.”
Reece and Emma, who graduated from DMU’s Channel 4 Investigative Journalism course, say they have been delighted with the reaction they have had so far, and are looking for one final push to hit their target.
Reece, co-editor and co-founder, said: “Seeing the support we have had makes the whole thing quite real. We surveyed people before going ahead with our plans and it was clear the Great Central Gazette was something the community wanted.
“And now we are getting these great supportive comments and donations to turn our ambition into a reality.
“Every penny counts so any donations that go beyond the target means we can offer more. Not everyone can donate money, particularly at this time, but their time is just as valuable. We will be a volunteer led organisation so we need and appreciate the help.”
When the crowdfunder was launched at the beginning of October, the Great Central Gazette team were vocal with their beliefs that newspapers are out of touch with issues affecting local communities and are more interested in ‘clickbait’ – a tactic in which online readers are enticed to click on a hyperlink via a sensationalized headline to increase a publication’s number of ‘views’.
In the meantime, a dwindling pool of journalists are left with little time, if any, to meet the community and understand the everyday issues that affect readers.
Reece said at the time: “We want to focus on citizen-led multimedia and investigative journalism. There isn’t room for online ads, clickbait headlines and obsessive sensationalism at The Gazette. We’re going to do things differently. Only true, reader-funded investigative journalism can make genuine change.”
The co-operative newspaper business model has proved successful in other large cities such as Bristol, where they have the Bristol Cable, and Manchester, where they have the Manchester Meteor.
The Bristol Cable has donated to the crowdfunder and left a message of support saying: “Well done on your success so far! We can't wait to see you bringing the co-op news model to the people of Leicester. Keep in touch! From everyone at The Bristol Cable.”
To donate to the crowdfunder and find out more about the Great Central Gazette’s plans then click here
If you are interested in helping The Gazette, either as an individual or organisation, email email@example.com
Posted on Thursday 3rd November 2022