View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

Local World axes 25 freelancers from hyperlocal network to make way for user-generated content

By Ellie Chambers

Local World has terminated the contracts of 25 freelance journalists who had been running its hyperlocal sites.

The decision to end the contracts comes as part of the regional newspaper publisher’s move to user-generated content for the sites.

A spokesperson for Local World said: “25 people are affected and they were contracted not permanent staff.

“Local World is grateful for their work in establishing the service but it has now reached a stage where it has sufficient users to sustain itself, which was always the plan.”

The Local World hyperlocal sites are a group of around 100 portals for local and community news in small areas. The 25 contractors were each running a group of these sites before the latest restructure.

The news comes less than a month after Local World’s Chairman, David Montgomery, caused a stir among journalists by predicting that “in three or four years from now, much of our human interface will have disappeared”.

However, Local World chief executive Steve Auckland told Press Gazette that the group would continue to employ journalists.

Content from our partners
Free journalism awards for journalists under 30: Deadline today
MHP Group's 30 To Watch awards for young journalists open for entries
How PA Media is helping newspapers make the digital transition

Speaking on 22 May, the day after Montgomery’s comments, Auckland said: “We are not doing away with journalists, that’s not what we are about.

“What we want is a 20-fold increase in content on our sites. If we are we going to do that we can’t do it by increasing the number of editorial staff, what we have to do is get lots more user-generated content.

“Will the human interface disappear? It won’t. In five or ten years time we will have editorial people reporting on things.”

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network