Trinity Mirror‘s Birmingham Mail has forged a partnering with 25 independent blogs and websites as part of the development of a series of new community pages on its website.
Birmingham Mail Communities aims to provide readers with multimedia news and information across 34 areas of the West Midlands.
The Mail has today launched dedicated web pages for each area and is seeking to work with existing hyperlocal websites which already cover these locations.
The paper has already made agreements with Digbeth is Good, The Lichfield Blog and Bournville Village, which will allow it to use content from the independently-run sites in print and online. Content will be fully credited and with links back to its site of origin.
The partnership will also see RSS feeds from the hyperlocal sites carried within the Mail Communities section and the paper will make pictures available for each site to use.
Participating sites will also have a say in how a proportion of the Birmingham Mail Charitable Trust’s donations are spent and set the agenda for quarterly communities’ workshops.
David Brookes, editor of the Birmingham Mail, said: “This is a truly innovative hyperlocal partnership and the response we have had so far has been fantastic.
‘Many hyperlocal sites want to promote their area of Birmingham and we’re confident we can help them with that, and at the same time develop a relationship which is beneficial to both sides, and ultimately, and most importantly the residents of Birmingham.”
Trinity Mirror first launched a series of hyperlocal websites in 2007 on the website of its Teesside Gazette newspaper; it now has similar sites in London, Middlesbrough, Northumberland, Coventry and Cardiff.
The Mail Communities project was put together with the assistance of Talk About Local, a community blogging guidance project.
Will Perrin, Talk About Local founder, said: ‘Talk About Local has helped Trinity Mirror reach out to some local sites and develop a package that recognises many sites generate great stories but are volunteer run and motivated by civic good, rather than financial return.
‘Initially the relationship between newspapers and hyperlocal sites didn’t get off to a good start – with a lot of sharp elbows and misunderstanding – so let’s hope that Birmingham can show the way for others to follow.”