CASE STUDY #3: Nantwich News
Updated: May 4, 2020
Area of Influence: Nantwich, Cheshire
Editor: Pete Leydon
Nantwich news is an independent online community news outlet covering the Cheshire market town of Nantwich.
“[Nantwich News is for] everyone – not just to read but also to contribute, comment and get involved with.” Pete Leydon, Editor, Nantwich News.
The title has made a concerted effort to cover Covid-19 and the way the virus is impacting the local area, publishing 80 stories concerning the pandemic in March and April alone. They have tried to publish positive, uplifting stories such as their coverage of a painting of Captain Tom Moore left in Nantwich town square to boost morale during lockdown and a 7 year old’s touching poem about life under lockdown, alongside breaking important stories about the government’s procurement of ventilators and testing kits from local firms; stories that have been picked up by national titles.
Beyond Traditional Journalism
Beyond their regular content, Nantwich News have also branched out to offer more practical support to the local community through the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The publication is running updates on key health and emergency services and publishing appeals from local businesses and individuals working to support the local NHS, such as one for 3D printers to help a local firm make face shields for frontline NHS staff and highlighting other fundraising efforts.
Nantwich News is clearly answering a community need – in March and April the site attracted over 439,000 page views and 224,000 unique users; in comparison, the same period in 2019 they had 147,000 page views, and 55,000 unique users.
Despite a clear uptick in demand for updates from Nantwich News, the business is struggling financially through the crisis.
“Generally, the site makes enough revenue through banner advertising (mostly), Google Adsense, and the directory business listings to cover all this and hourly expenses, but all advertising is drying up - three businesses due to renew in April have said they can't, no more businesses are listing on directory etc.” Pete Leydon, Editor.
Kieran Mullan MP (Crewe & Nantwich) spoke out in support of Nantwich News and it’s Covid-19 work: "I know how trusted our local member (Nantwich News) is and how big their reach is. I have asked the Department of Health to ensure they are considering local news media as avenues for public advertising which is so important at the moment. We need to reach everyone."
The experience of Nantwich News shows both the urgent need for independent local journalism in the UK and the uncertainty facing the sector and therefore why it is so important to support and #saveindependentnews.