TheLococo’s inaugural hyperlocal publication, Camdenist, soft-launched during lockdown back in May. A cross-platform media title featuring storytelling and insights from across the London Borough of Camden, it aims to give agency to residents of all backgrounds and ages, and offer targeted editorial coverage and marketing support to businesses.
After months of planning, the launch was inevitably delayed and disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis. We used the early days of lockdown to refocus our model to be best suited to the suddenly changed landscape. What could we do that would be most supportive to the local ecosystem; the people, groups, venues and businesses of Camden? How could we harness everyone’s sudden focus on all things local? And how could we learn quickly from the crisis to build a better product for the huge challenges of the Covid era ahead?
By mid-May, the team agreed that the launch should not be delayed any further while awaiting the situation to improve, so we soft-launched a bare-bones website (as opposed to the full app and print platform we had expected), and started a weekly email (which was always central to the plans). Editorially, we focused simply on a series of Covid Stories, interviewing local business-owners about how they had come through lockdown, giving them a platform to promote their current offering, and sparking ideas for collaborations with others.
- Camden Giving – connecting with the borough’s existing community projects
- Camden Clean Air Initiative – a scheme born from the dramatic improvement in air quality during lockdown
- Knowledge Quarter – 150 organisations, working towards a People’s Quarter
- IMPRESS – assuring we adhere to the standards of the independent press monitor
Covering our very own backyard, Camdenist is the laboratory where we will test and innovate new ideas, from collaborative editorial concepts to business support tools, hyperlocal data analytics to stakeholder partnership models.
With such a diverse resident population alongside some of the most important global brands, and an acclaimed cultural scene alongside world-renowned educational and research institutions, there are a wealth of opportunities for this new collaborative media model to grow.
As Covid restrictions ease, we will be focusing on the future of the high street, plus creating content series around the social and cultural challenges that will unfold, in partnership with local community projects. The title will become a sustainable community asset via partnerships with key local stakeholders and offering a suite of affordable and effective tools for smaller local organisations to tell their stories, targeted to an engaged audience based in the area.
Why this excites us
- A chance to finally put our ideas for a scalable, sustainable local media into practice
- Positive early feedback from influential local stakeholders
- TheLococo is now up and running after many twists and turns, including a global pandemic!