The Institute convened dozens of hyperlocal journalists, publishers and executives for a two-day summit in April 2021 to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the sector and how they can work together to address them.
JNI introduced local journalists to hyperlocal leaders from the US and UK, who shared their experiences working with successful hyperlocal ventures overseas.
Chris Krewson, the Executive Director of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, spoke on the first day of the summit.
Emma Meese, the Director of Community Journalism at Cardiff University, and Rachel Howells, the Project Manager for the National Union of Journalists Training Wales, addressed the summit on the second day.
The summit also heard from Dame Frances Cairncross, a former senior editor at The Economist and author of the 2019 Cairncross Review in the UK into the sustainability of quality journalism.
Dame Frances told the summit quality journalism, practiced by experienced reporters, was essential to ensure local governments were held to account.
“You need the institutions of local government, which are so important, to be properly reported on and that’s why we need local democracy and local reporters,” said Dame Frances.
Australia’s hyperlocal sector continues to face challenges, including building diverse and sustainable revenue streams — topics discussed throughout the summit.
International guest speakers
Chris Krewson is Executive Director of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, which provides teaching, resources, and a community to independent news entrepreneurs as they build and develop sustainable businesses. He is a former VP of strategy for Spirited Media, former top editor at Philadelphia’s Billy Penn, and the former top digital editor for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Emma Meese is the director of Community Journalism at Cardiff University. She manages the Centre for Community Journalism and is a director of the Independent Community News Network. Emma is a journalist passionate about the local, community and hyperlocal news sector and spent 14 years working at the BBC.
Rachel Howells is NUJ Cymru training Wales Project Manager. She is an experienced journalist, having spent 20 years working in magazines, newspapers and the hyperlocal sector, at a variety of levels from staff writer to editor. Rachel graduated from a PhD in journalism studies from Cardiff University in 2016. Her thesis focused on the democratic deficit in towns that lose their local newspaper (Port Talbot was her case study). Alongside her studies, she was a founder director and editor of the Port Talbot Magnet news service.