European publishers should pay attention to US local news experiments in 2021

What's New in Publishing 18 Jan 2021 08:10

Smaller, European markets can learn more from similar-sized rather than international US-based giants

European publishers can learn more from a successful US local news site than giants like New York Times or Washington Post. And 2021 is set to provide a lot of learning material.

One of the first things I tell journalists and “media people” (consultants, analysts…) from the United States is that they should think of most European media as the equivalent of local news in the States.

I’m not the first person to say this – some have stopped me and said they get it. For others it is obvious once I tell them. Sometimes, the same goes for Europeans, too, especially those working in media in big EU countries and for national publishers.

Consider that only five countries in the EU have a population larger than 20 million (OK, Romania is just below 20). A random regional newsroom in Germany could have a reachable market of around 7 million people. That is more than the population of thirteen smaller EU countries. The same is true when compared to American local news.

Another headline grabbed my attention this week: Tiny News Collective aims to launch 500 new local news organizations in three years. That’s a big goal, and it will provide a lot of potentially interesting case studies. The main proposal: “The Collective will be able to offer the platform, training, legal assistance, back-office services, and everything else for around $100 per month.”

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