Guardian Cardiff to be wound down!

Launched as a local experiment in 3 cities throughout the UK, Guardian Local was set-up to connect local citizens to information sources and resources in their areas and bring them local stories, news and features that mattered to them!

The three chosen cities were Leeds, Edinburgh and of course my local version Cardiff.
The Guardian Local website was intergrated into the main Guardian website and could easily be navigated to directly via http://www.guardian.co.uk/cardiff where each day there would be numerous updates on local stories using the full complement of devices to tell the stories from text, videos, photos, audio and maps (to name a few)

The Guardian Cardiff website was run by Hannah Waldram whom rode around the streets of Cardiff updating the website using her digital camera, mobile phone and live blogging via her laptop!

But on 27th April, 2011 a message appeared on the Guardian Website stating that the experiment was coming to an end! (BOOOOOOO!)

The Guardian Local pilot has taught us a lot about new models of journalism but we will soon be winding it down…….
We believe that journalism plays a vital role in communities, so two years ago we created the Local project. It was an experiment in new models of local journalism – to see whether they could be editorially and commercially viable……
As an experiment in covering local communities in a new way, it has been successful and enlightening. Unfortunately, while the blogs have found engaged local readerships and had good editorial impact, the project is not sustainable in its present form.


LOCAL IMPACT In Cardiff Hannah has made a real impact in the local community, blogsphere, charities and even the other media outlets based here aswell! The biggest shock for me was when I met Hannah for the first time and then realised that she had no-one else working for her! I was amazed that she covered so much ground and so many stories each day all by herself – an amazing feat in itself!
Hannah in conjunction with Ed Walker helped organise, promote and run the regular Cardiff Bloggers Meetup and Social Media Surgeries in the area. I hope we can continue these events in some guise?

I feel the way local news was gathered and then distributed on the net was really ground breaking but whereas people are deserting news print and tv programmes – you’d think that it would’ve been more successful and continue for the foreseeable future?

I’m not your typical ‘Guardian Reader’ (if such a thing exists) but did feel compelled each day to check out what was happening in my local area via the Guardian Cardiff Website. This was down to the pure hard work and dedication that was put into it and also the way it was easily accessible for the modern digital age!

WEBSITE FIGURES RELEASED The Guardian have now released figures showing how popular the website was at http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/guardian-releases-first-traffic-figures-for-its-local-sites/s2/a539527/ Looking at these figures it achieved 24,160 unique visitors a month totalling just under 45,000 page impressions a month. So, on average, there were around 1,500 hits a day on the Guardian Cardiff website. But I don’t think these figures tell the whole story of how many hits were generated from all the local content produced for Guardian Cardiff via other outlets like YouTube and Flickr (to name two big ones) Then you take into account the interactivity with the public on Twitter and then you begin to realise the TRUE value of what this whole ‘local’ initiative was about. It cannot be ruled successful or not just on the website hits alone – it was so much more than that!

FACEBOOK GROUP
A Facebook group has now been set up where people are posting messages of support for Hannah and also trying to conjure up ways of preserving what work has already taken place and take the project forward – join in the debate!

I don’t think it will be long before Hannah is snapped up by another organisation and putting all her skills to even better use. Best of luck for the future Hannah.

PS People are leaving messages for support at http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/insideguardian/2011/apr/27/guardian-local-update and you can join in the support for what a wonderful resource Hannah provided us with for the last two years!

PPS I wonder whether people from the Cardiff Blogsphere would be interested in continuing some sort of Cardiff Local blog between us all? it seems such a shame to let 12 months worth of work just stop like that!

PPPS Lets start using the hashtag #SaveGdnCardiff to try and get it trending in the Cardiff blogsphere!

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6 Responses to “Guardian Cardiff to be wound down!”

  1. Thanks for excellent and quick blog. Saved me doing it. Am in shock.

  2. Cheers pete! Think a few of us are thinking of having a meet-up sometime next week to discuss what we can all do and how we can continue the good work that Hannah has done in the last 2 years!

    I wonder whether there is Assembly money available for such a project?

  3. I may be interested in coming to such a meet-up, but I fear that the most important ingredient in the success of Guardian Cardiff – more than the Guardian itself – was Hannah. If she were to express interest in continuing the project herself, I know I would be happy to contribute a recurring donation of some amount. I’m sure others feel the same.

    Without at least one full time, properly trained, tech-savvy journalist at the centre though, I don’t see much hope of any replacement project being worthwhile.

  4. I am off to Radio Wales for a 6.20 news piece so briefly (yawn):
    – the Guardian have said now online that money is an issue – Meg Pickard said:
    27 April 2011 7:43PM
    Thanks for all the replies. We are reading them and clearly hear how much the Guardian local sites were valued in the communities they covered.

    On that note, in conversation with editors here earlier, an interesting idea was mooted: would any of the local communities or individuals affected be interested in carrying on the Cardiff/Leeds/Edinburgh blogs? Or fundraising a sum to enable us to continue? If We could find an alternative – community-supported? – funding model, that could extend the local project….

    as other said – bit late but ….. maybe someone can step in.

    One possibility for public money is not to give it to Guardian Newspaper Group but to the Scott Trust – that way it’s arms length and there may be less problem with EU and competition law etc. This is thinking out loud stuff!!

    Maybe Cardiff council could chip in (close down Capital Times) after all it has given millions for cricket for less return – but the influence issue is a big one – hence arms length.

    I’m appalled that before ‘ending the experiment’ the Guardian didn’t explore with its readers a whole range of new funding mechanisms. Was this just a short-term wheeze or a real project? We need to know.

  5. Will have a listen to your BBC Wales piece shortly Pete!

    Great to see the story make the Beeb’s own website aswell.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-13213219

    Lee.

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