We are a local newspaper reporting on everything happening in Brixton, London. We hope to inspire debate and enthusiasm about an area we are passionate about.
The Brixton Blog & Bugle are run by Tim Dickens and Zoë Jewell. We fund the newspaper through various different revenue streams: advertising on the Blog and Bugle, a one-off grant from The Journalism Foundation and, most recently, the Carnegie Trust.
At the moment we spend our money on:
Production costs for the Bugle newspaper
A small office space, which has allowed us to have trainees in the office with us
Expenses for contributors
An editor for the site and newspaper (2 days per week)
A sales person who gets adverts for us and works on commission (1 day per week)
Equipment and software (such as a camera and InDesign)
On a shoestring we have done some amazing work so far. The Blog regularly attracts over 25,000 hits a week, we hand out a monthly newspaper free for everyone in the area, and in November 2013 we were nominated for Innovation of the Year at the British Journalism Awards.
With one paid editor a few days a week, both Tim, Zoë and the entire BB team put in hundreds of unpaid hours. We’ve done it gladly so far. In fact, our work on the Blog has always been motivated by a love for Brixton and the good of the community, never money. But now Brixton Blog needs to become a really sustainable business (let’s face it, money will never be the driving force) or it won’t last long.
Tim Dickens currently works part-time on the Blog and also works as a freelance journalist and event organiser. Zoë works mostly full-time in television and works on the Blog in the mornings, evenings and almost every weekend; every three months or so she takes a couple of months to work part-time on the Blog. Our section editors and contributors all work in other jobs, sacrificing a lot of their social time to write for us!
With funding from the Carnegie Trust, we have been able to support volunteer trainees at the Blog. Here they describe how it’s helped them:
Jack Burt, 20 years old
“Before I came to be a trainee journalist with Brixton Blog, I was a complete beginner to the idea of being a journalist.
I would only write up numerous novel concepts both fiction and non-fiction, and felt that my skill set would not lead to anything more than a hobby on the side-line. But after being accepted into the BB team as a trainee, I have gained knowledge that is invaluable to my progression within the industry. It is literally one of the most biggest steps on my path towards my dream job.
The fact that I am able to sit and work with varying professionals of the journalist industry in an welcoming environment, is something I will hold with me well after I’ve moved forward, and I could not think of a better group of people to offer this opportunity to others like myself.”
Laurice Laird, 23 years old
“Working for the Brixton Blog and Bugle is an absolutely undeniable experience. It has provided a great opportunity to brush up on the skills learnt at university, including shorthand and news reporting. The growth of the newspaper alone depicts the level of effort, energy and skill that the team invest into each and every copy, as well as the behind the scenes research that goes into producing the online content.
It is a great networking opportunity and allows you to meet people from all walks of life. It’s also the kind of job that keeps you on your toes. You can walk into the office and cover anything from a shooting to a sewing workshop. Each day brings something new.
Nothing beats that overwhelming sensation of seeing your name and article printed in the newspaper. Hardcore evidence that you actually are…a journalist.”