The Guardian said that despite attracting strong support for the local websites the project was financially “unsustainable”. One estimate was that the sites brought in only £500 a year in local ads.
But Oldfield writes that in Leeds: "It may just turn out that the Guardian’s failed experiment has acted as a catalyst for a new sustainable site to emerge from its own audience."
He tells how Leeds-based web and mobile product strategist Matt Edgar, a former newspaper journalist, has set up a fundraising appeal for 35 people to match his pledge of £23.32 a month – the cost of a Guardian newspaper subscription – towards running a similar community news site.
Oldfield adds: "By Wednesday, May 4, 10 people had signed up ahead of the May 31 deadline... the pledges would provide annual funding of just over £10,000, and a core group of supporters, with the aim of adding more revenue with a mixture of micro-payments, advertising, sponsorships or other models."
He concludes: "It seems that the Guardian’s experiment, while failing to find a viable commercial model, has whetted the city’s appetite for an alternative to the traditional local media offerings."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at email@example.com You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery