Engaged and Committed – Hyperlocals are Making Their Mark

A few weeks into his role at IMPRESS, Chris Elliott, former senior Guardian editor, gives his first impressions.

Many hyperlocal publications have sprung up in areas where regional newspapers were once the providers of local news. It’s a flourishing sector - at the last count there were some 400. What’s different about these publishers is that they represent an innovative, new strain of presenting journalism.

They are fully aware of all that the digital world can offer in terms of providing a rolling news service and what it means to have a genuine dialogue with their readers. This is the opportunity for news publishing. What they are doing requires courage and a lot of hard work but in my view, in many ways, the hyperlocal publishers represent the future.

My role at IMPRESS is to establish simple and transparent systems for dealing with reader’s complaints. This means taking our members through our compliance procedures to ensure they understand them and then supporting them through their implementation.

For our members being part of this scheme demonstrates their responsibility as professional publishers. Over time the IMPRESS trust mark will become synonymous with trusted journalism rooted in high ethical standards.

What has struck me most of all is how engaged these publishers are - engaged in their central role of providing news for local communities, or readers in particular sectors, and fully committed to building trust with their readership.

This is their motivation behind joining an independent regulator because it represents a set of standards of which they can be proud.