Southside Media has been set up by David Eyre, a former BBC Scotland reporter and producer. Southside Media believes that people need good local information and news if they're to have a chance of changing their communities for the better. We believe quality community newspapers are a good way of meeting that need.
But we think those kinds of small papers are unattractive to large media companies who are under pressure to deliver profits to shareholders. We think the social enterprise model provides a viable basis on which to start a whole new kind of community media.
Our first paper is called G41 and serves the communities of Pollokshields and Strathbungo. We believe it's the first newspaper in the UK to be completely produced using open source software.
Profits from G41 will be re-invested in the enterprise. We hope this will eventually allow us to start up other newspapers in other areas of Glasgow's southside - and beyond.
These days most local newspapers are published by large publicly-listed media companies. These companies are obliged to deliver growth and profits to their shareholders.
That need to maximise profits makes it unlikely that they'll ever be interested in investing the time, money and effort needed to develop small community publications.
Which is a shame, because at their best small local newspapers can give people the news and information they need to start changing their communities for the better.
They can give people news not available elsewhere. They can reflect the lives of local people. They can give people a platform to air grievances or concerns. They can tell people about important services offered by local community groups and voluntary organisations. They can act as a watchdog, making sure that local services are running properly and asking questions when they don't. And they can be a vital tool in holding local elected officials to account.
Southside Media believes that strong, sustainable and professional local newspapers should be a right for every community. Their existence shouldn't depend on their profitability.
That's why we're a social enterprise. We're not out to make big money, we just want to provide the best media we can within the resources that are available to us.
That doesn't mean we don't want to make money. Our papers will seek to build solid audiences that appeal to local advertisers.
But for us, profits are a means to an end. We need them to make our enterprise sustainable in the long term, but our main focus is to serve the community.
Any profits we make will be re-invested in the enterprise so we can roll out our model of community newspapers to new areas.
Our papers will be based firmly on the idea that when people act together, they can change things for the better. Our values include a belief in equality, social justice, local democracy, accountability and community involvement.
Our first newspaper is called G41. It serves the communities of Pollokshields and Strathbungo in the southside of Glasgow. It's a monthly, 16-page paper. The first edition was published in December 2005.
To date,we've had financial support from Radius Glasgow, Scotland UnLtd and the Co-op Community Dividend Fund.
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