This is not a transaction.

I blogged the other week about The Lichfield Blog’s print debut in the Birmingham Mail with an article I wrote about Fuse Festival. It sparked a nice few comments and I thought they warranted a second blog post to clear one thing up.

The printing of that article was not one side of a transaction, nor was it ever going to be. In the comments Ed Walker and Ventnor Blog specifically mentioned payment but as Ed pointed out in a further comment, hyperlocals like ours are set up for many different reasons.

Have no doubt that we are not in it for the money at TLB, not least because there is very little money to be had.

Our main priority is to make sure we are providing a comprehensive, impartial news service to the communities of Lichfield District. Having our stuff printed in the Birmingham Mail isn’t going to be of great benefit in that respect but it does open doors.

And that’s the point.

Let’s be honest – BPM is unlikely to have the money to be dishing out mullah to hyperlocals like us for that kind of coverage, and as I just mentioned we’re not in it for the money so that suits just fine.

…because we’ll get something out of it that’s more beneficial to us. We’re already talking about a whole new area that we can move into on TLB because of the possibilities this collaboration has thrown up.

That’s where the value is. We’re already generating revenue purely because local people have seen and liked what we do and decided to part with their cash for us. That relatively small amount is helping us to survive and have a bit of a comfort blanket.

Our ongoing collaboration will help us to improve our offering and that quality will show through further still and create more revenue opportunities for us that help us to be sustainable.

One more thing…

Ventnor Blog said that our “early actions are possibly setting the die for the future for many more.” To an extent I agree – this will be looked at very closely to see how it works out. However, this should not be seen as a template for the rest of the hyperlocal scene and local media industry to work together apart from the actual conversation.

As Ed said, each hyperlocal is different and so is each local media company. Each partnership has to be treated differently and a middle ground sought between the aims of each party. That’s the bit of our relationship with BPM that should be focused on, not the actual outcomes which are based on many different factors that will not be the same for others.

Update: We’ve recently published a post about local club Chasetown FC, supplemented with pictures from the Birmingham Post & Mail coffers.


7 responses to “This is not a transaction.”

  1. Ross Avatar

    I’m in agreement (but then I would be, wouldn’t I!), especially with the bit about not using TLB/BPM model as just that.

    I’ve been asked by a few people for advice about setting up a hyperlocal site (I’m not even sure TLB is even a hyperlocal to be honest) and my response has always been the same – don’t follow what we’ve done, just find your own way. That’s because we all do this for different reasons and that’s what makes the hyperlocal scene so vibrant and refreshing. And in terms of longevity, the only way you will get it is to find something that works for you.

    There is the key to it all. BPM is a perfect link for us at this moment in time. We’re not being pillaged and we’re not selling our souls to Trinity Mirror – instead we’ve both come up with an agreement that we feel will benefit us in some way at this stage. Most importantly from the point of view of my typing fingers, nothing will change – there will just be things going on in the background.

    From some of the hyperlocal chatter I’ve listened to (and I confess, I don’t listen to much – I don’t get the time with TLB and other commitments), one of the issues has been a lack of recognition from various quarters, be it PR people or other media. For TLB this has the potential to do just that and open us up to a new audience and that will only be a benefit to us as we look to make ends meet the way we’ve always wanted to (ie, our own way).

    And if it doesn’t work out, what have we lost? The truth is that no-one has a magic wand to make hyperlocal or even traditional media a roaring success at the moment, so surely it’s in everyone’s best interest to try something new, even if it’s only so others don’t have to walk down a dead end in future?

  2. Ed Walker Avatar

    Good post, and good to put this debate into the spotlight. I think it’s important people realise there’s not going to be one standard way of creating these relationships, ultimately it comes down to people – and they will always have different ways of doing things.

    Unless of course a media company works out how to clone journalists…

  3. Ross Avatar

    And I probably should add that in my previous life I was a BPM member of staff, but that has had no leaning on the decisions we’ve made on TLB – in fact this is a partnership organised in the main by Phil and David Higgerson.

  4. Peter Demain Avatar

    Hi Philip,

    Like to explain why I’m blocked from your Twitter? I’ve never met or spoken to you and I don’t recall tweeting at you either.

    You have a mental health Twitter list; I’ve ample experience writing on that area and was actually attempting to ask you about what you do in relation to it when I discovered this block was in place. Family members of mine suffer/suffered with dementia, and I’m actually working on an information-rich piece on that subject at the moment.

    Does presumptiously barring somebody you don’t even know from communicating with you fit with your ‘big on ethics’ mentality?

    Pete, editor at

    1. Philip John Avatar

      Peter, I’m not sure where you got that from, I haven’t blocked you. In fact, recognise your handle from replies I’ve had off you.

  5. Peter Demain Avatar

    Just tried following you again on Twitter, and received the message “This user has blocked you from following them.”

    Could you check again?


  6. […] strongly believe that one of the reasons that the BPM-TLB collaboration even happened is because we decided to accept that there are people behind the […]

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