Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

The Hastings Independent Press (HIP) is a free, not-for-profit, fortnightly newspaper run mainly by volunteers – and they’ve just published their 50th issue. Having run for two years on a shoestring, they’re now raising the bar – to the tune of £15,000. This would finance a professional office space and a distribution service, allowing the paper to build on its success.

About the Hastings Independent

For two years, HIP’s team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide quality news, back local causes, support community cohesion, promote local arts, and provide training and work experience to local people.

This kind of positive, community-focused organisation is vital to the town, which suffers low average incomes, high unemployment, and more than its fair share of substance abuse and mental health problems. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, Hastings is the most deprived town on the south coast, and the 13th most deprived local authority in England.

“It’s a community paper, for and of the community,” says reader Jane Grimshaw, who has also appeared in the paper for her work with Hastings Supports Refugees. “It’s lead and inspired by members of the community with an inclusive approach to reporting what is happening in our area.”

Providing training to the community

Very few of HIP’s volunteers have formal training in journalism, so the team run free weekly peer-to-peer sessions on Monday evenings at a local careers centre. Recent sessions have included news writing (run by the news ed, an ex sub-editor), law for journalists (run by the sports ed, a retired solicitor), photojournalism (run by the picture ed, a professional photographer) and media sales (run by the advertising manager). Volunteers also make use of free training resources, such as the online course in community journalism by Cardiff University.

“I came to HIP to learn new skills, become more confident in my writing and gain new experiences,” says volunteer Leanne Cannon, who is also studying English with the Open University. “Working with HIP I feel that I can reach those goals.”

With recent news that the University of Brighton will be withdrawing its Hastings campus in five years (along with its journalism course), HIP has become even more vital as a training resource.

Recent coverage

HIP is primarily paper-first, feeling that a free, paper-based news source is important to the community. But it has also recently refurbished its website, to broaden its reach and allow volunteers to link to their stories when applying for jobs. Here are a few recent articles:

Achievements to date:

  • Pagination has increased from an initial 16 pages to a current 24.
  • Regular volunteers have grown from an initial 4 to a team of 37, including 12 section editors, 4 sub editors, 4 photographers and over 20 writers.
  • We also have more than 100 occasional contributors.
  • Advertising covers most running costs, with preferential rates for small local businesses and community organisations.

What past volunteers are doing now

Several volunteers have used their experience with HIP to gain new employment. A few examples are: gallery assistant at Express Newspapers, social data journalist at Brandwatch, freelance writer for Novara and the Guardian, communications manager for the local borough council.

Crowdfunding campaign

Having confirmed the local appetite for an independent news source over the past two years – and the HIP team’s ability to provide it – they are celebrating their 50th issue by launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000.

This will allow the paper to build on its success to date, by financing for one year:

  1. A distribution co-ordinator to do newspaper deliveries.
  2. Improvements to the office, which was kindly donated but needs some work.
  3. Occasional shortfalls in running costs such as printing and design (usually financed by advertising).

hastings-independent-logoAny help with raising the profile of the crowdfunder, or the paper in general, would be much appreciated.

Are you great with words and have a passion for football? Then you might be very interested in applying for this unique opportunity.

We’ve been asked by local media agency i-Jam Media to let you all know that their client www.hitc.com (Here is the City) is offering three paid internships during the world cup. This is an excellent opportunity to get your writing skills across to million of visitors to the site and work for a globally recognised news site from home!

Here’s the overview:

hitc

HITC are looking for World Cup interns. Interested? Then apply today

HITC have a maximum of 3 paid internships up for grabs for the duration of the World Cup, and are running a competition for individuals interested in working with one of football’s fastest-growing websites.

They are looking for talented individuals who can demonstrate a sound general knowledge of football, have excellent writing and analytical abilities, and a strong social media footprint.

HITC’s successful football franchise launched just two years ago,  and now has between 10-15m visits a month with writers in Australia, France, Mexico,  Mongolia, Sweden, the UK and the United States.

Interested candidates should simply send in an email to vic.daniels@hereisthecity.com with the subject line: HITC World Cup Intern Competition.

Further details will then be provided.

Deadline for entries – Friday, 23rd May, 2014