For the third year running I’m updating my analysis of the hyperlocal news websites that are listed on the Openly Local website.
The analysis contributes to the outputs of the Creative Citizens project I am part of as well as being an element of my PhD. The 2012 and 2013 analyses have been published by Ofcom (in the 2012 Market Communications Report and the 2013 Internet Citizens report).
The new figures below will form part of Ofcom’s 2014 Internet Citizens report due for publication later in November. Unlike previous years I haven’t undertaken a detailed analysis of number of stories published (largely due to time).
‘Active’ Hyperlocal websites
- There are 702 (632 in 2013) hyperlocal websites listed on the Openly Local database as of 25 October 2014.
- 408 of these sites were ‘active’ (496 in 2013, 432 in 2012) and operating in the UK. ‘Active’ was defined as a website having posted a news story at least once in the 5 months prior to the sampling date or functioned as an active forum-only or wiki-based website.
- 288 (133 in 2013) are no longer active. This figure is a mix of websites that have closed or have not published in the 5 months prior to the sample period. Many of the inactive websites (n=86) are part of the ‘Local People’ franchise. Although some (n=37) still show evidence of activity from local residents (such as events being published or reviews of businesses), the vast majority comprise nothing but spam postings and although online were declared as inactive due to the complete lack of locally focused material. The Local People network no longer receives financial support .
Number of sites in UK nations:
- England: 359 (-86 on 2013)
- Wales: 25 (-1)
- Scotland: 19 (-1)
- Northern Ireland: 3 (no change)
- (Isle of Man) 2
Number of sites in English regions:
- London: 92
- South West: 43
- South East: 48
- West Midlands: 51
- Yorkshire and Humberside: 36
- North West: 37
- East Midlands: 16
- East of England: 29
- North East: 7
Birmingham has 20 active sites (-6 on 2013), the most in any UK authority area.
Across London Boroughs there are 85 active hyperlocal websites.
Cardiff has 12 and Edinburgh has 8 hyperlocal websites.
 The Centre for Community Journalism at Cardiff University has undertaken an extensive mapping of Welsh community media (http://www.communityjournalism.co.uk/find-a-hyperlocal/) which includes many ‘Papurau Bro’ community newspapers. Their database also maps UK hyperlocals which largely mirrors those listed on the Openly Local database.