South London web start-up The Croydon Citizen has launched a crowd-funded print version of its local news publication, 12 months after the launch of the online title.
The new 16-page ‘news magazine’, which hit the Croydon streets this morning, is printed by Newsquest’s contract print division in Weymouth, with an initial print-run of 10,000.
Financing for the first issue of the magazine was raised through local crowd-funding platform wearethemillion.com with backers donating a total of £2,400, beating the target of £2,000.
Content for both the online and print version of The Croydon Citizen is provided by around 70 local contributors as well as local advertisers.
“We have a hybrid approach with content provided by local citizens and some from advertisers so that we can sustain the publication with an advertising revenue stream,” said editor-in-chief James Naylor.
“I’m a big believer in citizen journalism and this has got huge potential – it’s more than just a bunch of people randomly blogging,” he added.
Naylor said that launching a print version “made financial sense” because it would allow the business to employ a small editorial team in the long-term that could help grow the title.
“We hope to increase circulation and page number in the future,” he explained.
“The beauty of print is that people can sit and enjoy it on their commute or in a coffee shop – that’s the audience we’re going for. I see an army of people reading papers on the train every day. One of the biggest lies we hear is that print is dead, but it’s definitely not going anywhere any time soon.”
Naylor said he aimed to turn the title into a social enterprise and that if the format was a success in Croydon he was “open-minded” about expanding the idea across different boroughs.