A light touch and an eye on analytics help Archant build online-only news publication for London - Press Gazette

A light touch and an eye on analytics help Archant build online-only news publication for London

Research by Press Gazette has shown that London is one of the least well covered parts of the UK when it comes to local newspapers.

But Archant-owned website London24 is aiming to buck that trend and build an online-only news publication for the city.

Launched in 2010 it has an staff of nine: an editor, two news reporters, two sports reporters, a digital content coordinator, a web developer, a digital executive and a business development director.

Editor Kate Nelson has been with the site since 2013, after previously working on two local London newspapers. She feels that the two worlds are polar opposites: "In print media you're covering everything, and sometimes scrabbling around for news…with digital media you rely on what you're audience is telling you, and feeding stories and removing what's not working."

Nelson wants her site to provide "a snapshot of what's going on in London that day" and said it takes a more light-hearted approach than some print local newspapers.

She says: "We want people to have a positive response from the website, whether we've helped somebody or we've made them smile, or told them something new about London. There are so many crazy things going on."

Big hits for the site include coverage of the home truths delivered by a Dalston Kebab shop's twitter feed and of the city's annual naked bike ride: "Anything to do with naked Londoners does really really well for us.", She says: "We're looking for stuff that is shareable, but still has credibility. Traditional media can paint quite a bleak picture in London, we aim to add a bit of fun."

A project called "near you now" feed stories to readers from London news websites based on their location regardless of whether the news is from Archant owned titles or not.

The site makes money from a combination of promotions, native content and display advertising. In June it attracted some 1.7m unique browsers.

Traffic to the site is said to be growing fast. Nelson says:  "We're open-minded but we also monitor our experiments quite carefully. I think a huge part of why we've grown is because we've listened to our audience, and we really pay close attention to analytics.

"All journalists should be fascinated by them and switched on to them".