Cornwall has successfully launched a new model for local news, after a Crowdfunding campaign raised enough cash to secure the Cornwall Reports website for at least the next three months.
The site was launched in mid-December as an advert-free, independent alternative to other media. Cornwall Reports will remain free to access until the end of January, when readers will be asked to subscribe.
Cornwall Reports is based at St Mabyn and is run by veteran journalist Graham Smith, 61. “I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me,” he said. “Many said they recognised the need for a Cornwall-based news media which is not tied to a national or international organisation, nor dependent on aggressive, invasive advertising or data acquisition.
“The Cornwall Reports business model is very simple. Good journalism has value. I have always believed that, and it looks like enough people in Cornwall agree.”
People who contributed to the £3,000 fundraising campaign, either through the Newquay-based Crowdfunder website, or by donations direct to the Cornwall Reports website, will automatically become subscribers. Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to all parts of the website.
New subscribers will be able to read a maximum of five articles per month, for free, before they are asked to pay. The best value subscription is £30 per year, which is equivalent to less than 9 pence per day, or roughly half the price of a local weekly newspaper. More casual readers will
also be offered alternative tariffs, including £1 per week. The “donation” button on the Cornwall Reports front page will remain.
The successful launch of Cornwall Reports means that Cornwall is pioneering an entirely new approach to local news. Although some national newspapers, such as the Times, Financial Times, and parts of the Daily Telegraph, have used paywalls, it is thought that no local news organisation in the UK has ever attempted the Cornwall Reports model. The Courier newspaper, and the Press and Journal, based in Scotland, offer subscription models – but also take adverts.